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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Jepkosgei back in training, eyes World Championships in Doha

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Beijing Olympics silver medalist Janeth Jepkosgei was back in training after a two-year absence and said she’d be in contention for the World Championship in Doha, Qatar in 2019. The 800m sensation has not competed in any event since 2016.

Injury and a long maternity leave took the wind out of Jepkosgei’s sails, but the 35-year-old believes she will be stronger when the new athletics season starts in January.

“I’m in training and my form is back. However, I have no competition now because we are in recess. But watch out for next year. I want to return to the top,” she said on Tuesday in Eldoret.

Jepkosgei, however, will not be returning to her traditional 800m domain, but will be going up a distance to either the 1,500m or the 5,000m. “I will discuss that with the coach and see which is best for me. But it will not be in the 800m distance. The World Championships in Doha will be an ideal place for me to compete,” she said.

In her absence, Kenya has seen several younger athletes emerge to take up the baton from the former World champion including her training partner Eunice Sum, Winny Chebet and the retired Pamela Jelimo.

Jepkosgei has been steadfast in the fight against doping and says cheats have no place in the sport. However, she wants Athletics Kenya and Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to increase their efforts to reach more young runners who are being taken advantage of in terms of doping.

At the same time, Jepkosgei believes more talent will be found if Kenya was to stage its trials and national championships for major competitions away from Nairobi. Athletics Kenya has said it will stage the World Cross Country trials in Eldoret in February.

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EARLIER REPORT:

Africa javelin champ Yego to pitch training camp in South Africa

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Olympic javelin silver medalist Julius Yego of Kenya says he will camp in South Africa for training in January as he starts early preparations ahead of the 2019 World Championships.

Yego gave the throws competition a new impetus, especially for young African athletes, when he emerged from obscurity to clinch the world title at the 2015 Beijing World Championships.

However, loss of form and a career threatening groin injury have punctured the allure of invincibility the Africa javelin champion enjoyed.

Speaking to reporters in Nairobi, Yego says he is back in training as he seeks to return to fitness and will go down south for an intensive preparations ahead of the 2019 season.

“I want to have a major impact in the Diamond League, which starts in Doha (Qatar) in May. I will head to South Africa early next year where I have been invited for some competitions and training camp,” said Yego, Wednesday in Nairobi.

Ever since his world lead throw of 92.72 meters in Beijing three years ago, Yego has struggled to reclaim his fitness.

He was injured at the Rio Olympics after two throws, which was enough to secure him the silver medal.

But since then it has been a downhill trajectory for the 28-year-old until last August when he returned to the winner’s podium to clinch gold at the Africa Championships in Nigeria, his third in as many attempts.

“Injury is every athlete’s nightmare and mine came when I was at the top of my game and left me confused. I had groin injury in Rio that affected my performance. I have tried to restore my body, but I have not been successful to go back to my peak. That is why I failed to defend my title in London last year. But I have started afresh and hopefully, with long preparations, I will do well in Doha next year,” he added.

Yego is again dreaming of hurling the javelin beyond the 90 meters mark to equal the performance season leaders world champion Johannes Vetter (92.70m), Olympic winner Thomas Rohler (91.78m), Andreas Hofmann (92.06m), Magnus Kirt (89.75m) and Jakub Vadlejch (89.02m).

Last season his best throw was 80.91 meters during the Kenyan trials for the Africa Championships.

“The sport today is very competitive and to excel you must throw over the 90 meters mark to challenge the Germans. That is my target. My focus is to throw over 90 meters and peak at the World Championships in Doha. If I can hot the 90 meters in January, then I will be able to plan accordingly for the season,” he said.

           

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