By COPPERFIELD LAGAT
IN ROME, ITALY
After setting a new national and African record at the IAAF World Challenge in Ostrava, Czech Republic a week ago, Commonwealth javelin champion Julius Yego will be out to improve on his personal best on Thursday at the Rome Diamond League meeting.
Yego will be targeting an improved throw in Rome after setting a national record of 86.88 metres. He will be up against a quality field of spear throwers, among them the two big names he outclassed a week ago.
The 2014 Commonwealth champion will face athletes with better throw tomorrow at Olympico Stadium, the venue of the 1960 Olympic Games and the 1987 World Championships.
Yego set national and Africa record of 86.88m in Ostrava, the “You Tube” man flooring big names like Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott from Trinidad and world champion Vítezslav Vesely from the Czech Republic. Keshorn has a Personal Best of 85.77m and Vesely 88.34m. Walcott is the 2012 Olympic Games javelin champion. He is the first black male athlete to win the gold medal in a throwing event in the history of the Olympics.
Already, the contest between Yego, Keshon and Vesely has been billed ‘the fight of the night’, with a local newspaper headline screaming: “Kenya’s Yego faces far throwers in Rome Gala clash.”
Yego will take on Keshorn and Vitezlav from 10.55pm (Kenyan time). Italy’s Bonvecchio Norbert (80.37m) will rely on home support as he chases a podium finish.
But pundits have tipped 2007 World champion Tero Pitkamaki of Finland to shine.
Pitkamaki, who basks in a personal best of 91.53m, has been out with injury, but he has been primed to give a good throw on his comeback into the international scene. He threw 86.53m at the European Championships last year.
WON SILVER IN MOSCOW
The 32-year-old Pitkamaki settled for silver behind Vesely at last year’s World Championships in Moscow. He claimed bronze at the 2008 Olympic Games, a year after winning the world championship title with a throw of 90.33m.
Italian daily Libero on Monday wrote: ‘Tero launches Olympic title hunt at Olympico’ and quoted the Finn as saying that Yego is indeed in excellent form but he maitained that he is up to the task as he gears for a first Olympic gold.
Walcott, who was also relegated to silver medal by Yego at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in August last year, has not performed well for the past two years and has an uphill task ahead of him.
The reigning Continental Cup champion was reported as saying he has sealed the loopholes which contributed to his loss to Yego in Glasgow last year and expects a big battle against Yego as both athletes eye a big throw.
Other javelin throwers with sub-90 throw are Egypt’s Abdelrahman Ihab (89.21), Strobinders Rolands from Latin America (86.61) and Rohler Thomas (87.63) of Germany.
Courtesy of nation.co.ke