BY KEITH McGHIE
Julius Yego proved there is more to Kenya’s formidable track and field armoury than just distance runners as he swept to a historic Javelin Gold in Glasgow.
Yego, Mercy Cherono and James Magut took the final Kenyan gold medal haul to 10 after a rain-lashed final evening’s competition at Hampden Park.
And Yego, who signalled his arrival on the scene with fourth place in last August’s Moscow World Championships, became Kenya’s first ever Commonwealth Javelin Champion and their first medallist in a field event since John Mayaka took Javelin bronze at Christchurch in 1974.
“It’s not like a runner winning because they are doing it all the time—being a champion in a field event feels great,” claimed a jubilant Yego, 25, still draped in Kenyan flag, after his third round winning throw of 83.87 metres.
“I was feeling in great shape beforehand and I think I might have thrown further but because I picked up a hamstring injury in the warm up, I didn’t want to push too hard.
“I almost pulled out but this is the championship that I have been working towards all year so I just had to compete. “I don’t fear anyone now going into the African Championship but we must see how my injury goes.”
Yego’s triumph came in a competition interrupted several times to mop up the runaway after torrential rain and in the face of an in-form main rival—2012 Olympic Champion Kershorn Walcott, from Trinidad and Tobago—who had thrown a new national record of 85.28m in qualifying the previous evening.
Javelin glory followed two more gold and two silver medals for Kenya from the women’s 5,000m and men’s 1500 final earlier in the evening.
Mercy Cherono looked set to lead her country’s fourth 1-2-3 of the week in the 12 and a half lap race but English veteran Joe Pavey, who will be 41 in September, spoilt their celebrations by storming down the finishing straight and passing Margaret Muriuki.
Cherono’s time was a moderate 15:07.21 while compatriot Janet Kisa just fended off Pavey’s late charge for silver by six hundredths of a second, Muriuki missing out on a medal and having to be content with a season’s best of 15:10.38.
James Magut believes Ronald Kwemoi could be the greatest ever 1,500m runner in years to come despite beating Mount Elgon-born teenager to the Commonwealth title in a time of 3:39.31 and, in doing so, going one better than his silver medal in Delhi four years ago
Magut, who celebrated his 24th birthday just before the Games started, made no mistake this time, out-sprinting 18-year old Kwemoi and the chasing pack down the home straight.
Kwemoi, who claimed the world junior record in Monaco just over two weeks ago, bagged silver but had to withstand a desperate late challenge from New Zealand’s Nick Willis and Johan Cronje from South Africa. A mere12 hundredths of a second separated the trio with Willis edging the bronze.
“It was a slower time than I targeted but the conditions were not good,” said Magut. “I always win my races in the last 100m and that’s what I did today.
“Kwemoi, who won the Kenyan trials is an up and coming athlete, who has already run 3:28 so he must have a great future.”
Magut, who was only third in the Kenyan trials, is keen to run in the African Championship but, as he was only third in the trials, the decision hinges on whether Asbel Kiprop want to compete.
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke