NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16 – After showing exemplary performance at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and African Senior Athletics Championships, Javelin star Julius Yego is now targeting gold at IAAF Continental Cup that runs September 13 and 14 in Marrakech, Morocco to complete a hat-trick of titles.
Yego, who became the first Kenyan to win gold in field events at the Club Games, was speaking on Saturday when the team arrived back in the county to a warm reception that brought the busy Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to a standstill.
As the norm, Athletics Kenya (AK) officials led by president Isaiah Kiplagat joined relatives and friends who chanted praise songs while feeding the athletes with mursik (a traditional drink for Kalenjins made of fermented milk).
The two-time African Champion said he is focused on making another history in Continental Cup rather than breaking his personal best of 85.40m he set in Moscow at the World Championships last year.
“I’m happy for the good results I have achieved this year. I was in good form in Glasgow although I had a groin injury but the best athlete won and that was me.”
“I’m not looking at the distance, my main aim is to win the Continental Cup and accomplish three titles in a row,” the 25-year-old told Capital FM Sport.
Yego confirmed he will take part in the last two Diamond Leagues set for Zurich and Brussels before heading to the Continental Cup.
“I have two Diamond Leagues to compete before focusing on the Continental Cup where I’m going for a win and win another global event as I did in Glasgow which I treasure most.”
Kiprop seeks revenge at Continental Cup.
Two-time World Champion Asbel Kiprop who was beaten by Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman to bag silver in the just concluded African Championships exuded confidence he will bounce back in Morocco.
“The race was good, I won silver and I’m really excited to win a medal and get selected to the Continental Cup in Morocco. Souleiman was good because he has been on top in the Diamond League so I was not surprised when he beat me, but I still have a point to prove at the Continental Cup whereby I now know it’s all about me and Souleiman. ”
“I really expect to perform well because winning is my priority,” the lanky Beijing Olympic Champion declared.
Kiprop did not participate in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games after withdrawing during the national championships cum trials held in Nairobi June 7 to see James Magut crowned the Club Games champion.
Ndiku eyes 2016 Olympics
After upsetting double Olympic Champion and three-time Worlds winner in men’s 3000m steeple chase Ezekiel Kemboi, Jonathan Ndiku who settled for silver in Marrakech behind Jairus Birech, is now eying for next year’s Worlds and 2016 Olympics honours.
“I felt so nice beating Kemboi who has dominated the race for over a decade. I knew I could make it because I’m also a champion. We did not plan for the race. Everybody was chasing gold and I’m so happy I eventually made it. I’m looking forward for next year’s World Championship and 2016 Olympics. I want to be an Olympic Champion,” Ndiku who confirmed he will compete in Brussels Diamond League stated.
Explaining on his performance at the 19th African Championship, he said, “The weather was bad for me because I have never trained for such climate and that’s why my body did not respond well but in Glasgow I was strong enough to win the race because I had prepared for it.”
Former two-time World Junior Cross Champion Faith Chepng’etich did not hide her joy after winning her first 1,500m Club Games title as a senior when she beat Worlds bronze medallist Hellen Obiri who finished sixth.
“The championship in Glasgow was good, we tried our best to retain the title and I’m very happy that I struggled to win my first gold as a senior. The challenge was in Morocco because there was a lot of heat and Ethiopians were also there but I’m happy for those who made it to the Continental Cup,” Chepng’etich who finished fifth at African Championship underscored.
Track and field Team Manager Paul Mutwii pointed out exhaustion as the main cause why his charges did not better their 2012 performance but at the same, he was content with Glasgow’s outing.
“The going was tough in Morocco because my athletes were exhausted. We didn’t fly direct to Marrakech since we connected to Dubai and that really affected their performance. However, I’m glad we ended up with seven gold and all in all I regard the outing to be very successful,” the AK vice president explained.
“In Commonwealth, we were in a developed country compared to last edition in India where many teams did not enter so this made the competition very stiff,” Mutwii concluded.
The Continental Cup which was earlier referred as IAAF World Cup is an event that takes place after four years comprising of four teams namely; Africa, America, Asia Pacific and Europe.
The two-day competition will see each continent enter two athletes in each event, except for relays where one team will compete with a maximum of one athlete from each country per event.
No athlete shall be allowed to double in the 3000 m and 5000m.