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Kenyan Julius Yego shakes off groin injury,
eyeing season debut in South Africa       

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Olympic javelin silver medalist Julius Yego of Kenya will pitch camp in Cape Town and launch his season early by competing at the Athletix Grand Prix Meeting in South Africa in March.

However, the Kenyan will be keen to conquer his own fears as he returns to action after a difficult 2017 season, which saw him struggle with a groin and ankle injuries.

“I am now healthy and injury free. Injuries derail your plans but I am excited for what 2018 may hold,” he said on Monday in Nairobi.

The Africa record holder has set March 22 as the day to launch his season and hopes it will push him to do well in the IAAF Diamond League and the Commonwealth Games.

The Kenyan threw 92.72 meters to set the Africa record when he won gold at the Beijing World Championships in 2015.

His hopes of clinching gold in Rio Games ended after he picked up an injury on his first throw of 88.24 meters, which was a season best and good enough to secure him silver medal behind Germany’s Thomas Rohler (90.30).

Yego never recovered and started 2017 on the low. The nagging groin problem, which cost him both the Rio Olympic Games and World Championships javelin titles, kept on recurring.

But the Kenyan is hopeful, he will be at the top of his game as he heads to South Africa for a dry run before the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia from April 4-15.

“Even though I won the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow four years ago, I was in great pain. It’s the same groin problem that saw me withdraw from the Olympics,” said Yego.

That will be a thing of the past as he seeks win in South Africa to launch his 2018 season.

“We are used to competing at big meetings in Europe, USA and Asia so when my agent (Jukka Harkonen) informed me of the Meeting in Paarl, I immediately jumped at the chance. To be able to compete in South Africa, on the African continent, is important to me as it helps in growing our sport,” said Yego.

The Commonwealth Games champ believes he is inspiring for Africans and Kenya youth to take up the sport.

“In Kenya, many dream of making it in long distance, but recent wins in sprints) 400m hurdlers by Nicholas Bett and Boniface Mucheru) has left many imaging what else to expect from Africa,” he added.


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