Former Commonwealth Games javelin champion Julius Yego has kept off many of the Athletics Kenya track and field weekend meets due to poor facilities in some of the stadiums across the country.
The former world javelin champion said that Sometimes competing in an event, you have to know where to compete. Last month, he competed in the Nairobi opening leg but he gave Kisumu a wide berth.
“I could not compete in Kisumu and other areas because of the facilities. At the moment I will not be able to compete on grass considering that our stadiums mostly lack tartan. Tartan is good for throws and sprints. And for me I am looking forward to competing in Nairobi because that is the only place that we have the tartan tracks,” said Yego.
He added that he can’t just go and compete to please people.
“Sometimes you need to know that by taking precautions like competing on grass one is prone to injuries. The grass lacks grip and in Kisumu it was raining and even the results were not pleasing at all. Sometimes you have just to compete because we have a competition but you look at what you are competing at,” said Yego.
The Africa champion said that he has not had a serious competition since 2019 until last year when he competed at the Olympic Games.
“But am back this year, looking forward to the upcoming season where I will open next month at the Kenya Police Service championships. Am really working hard to ensure that by next month I am ready. It will not be like a blast that is coming back but progressively because we have a long season to the world championships and Commonwealth Games. So I have to balance well to ensure that I compete well in those two highest levels of competitions,” he added.
On mentoring young athletes like Meshack Kipkogei, he said that he wished to have many young athletes coming up because javelin throw is a very complicated sport that needs someone to pick it in their early stages.
“When an athlete picks the sport early, progressively at the age of 20-21, and 23 years, they should be able to compete at a very high level but due to lack of facilities we have in Kenya doesn’t support our young athletes,” he added.
He added that Kenya doesn’t have the javelin throw for young kids and this is a process, and wished young people like Meshack Kipkosgei will be one of the talents in the country.
“I saw the story of the school buying the javelin for him. It was a very nice idea and that is how I started. For me, when I was in Kapsabet Boys, the school bought javelin. Having started from there and this is where I am now, I have gone far, competed at the senior level. So for the young boy getting that support from school it is a big bonus to him and looking forward to having many young boys and girls taking up the javelin because I can’t be there forever since the life of an athlete is a maximum of 20 years depending on the event you are competing in. 10-15 years may be a life span for an athlete and when we see such hungry ones budding it is a plus to me and I feel good that I have mentored someone,” he said.
“I wish him well and hope he doesn’t lose his way in the middle because sometimes one gets disappointed like injuries and he needs to raise up his head and face the challenges like injuries.”