Why Kenyans have more medal prospects in Beijing than they had in Moscow, despite losing the men's marathon, A view from Kenya, by Justin Lagat


Yego_Julius1a-Birmingham15.JPGJulius Yego, photo by PhotoRun.net

In Birmingham, during the Diamond League meeting, I took a few minutes to watch Julius Yego throw the javelin. I had been watching him for some time, from even before the "You Tube" javelinist took fourth in the Olympics in London.

Julius let his javelin fly and, it kept flying, and it kept flying, until it went past the video packing boxes for BBC cameras. At first, it was called a foul. Then, an appeal and it was not only not a foul, but a 90 plus meter throw! A new Kenyan record!

Julius is one of the medal prospects that Justin Lagat speaks about in his column below, on current Medal prospects.

Why Kenyans have more medal prospects in Beijing than they had in Moscow, despite losing in the men's marathon, by Justin Lagat
As I watched the men's marathon on the first day of the Beijing world championships, I could not help but wonder whether I was not dreaming. Later in the day, during the men's 400m hurdles, I read a post from someone somewhere else in another part of the world who was also wondering if he wasn't dreaming as he saw all the Kenyans sailing through to the semi-finals in the 400m hurdles event.
Despite the disappointment at having missed to win any medals in the marathon event, it was reassuring to see Kenyans proceeding to the semi finals in an event that they have not been featuring in the past world championships. Still on the same day, many other Kenyans also made it through to the semi finals in the men's 3000m steeplechase, women 1500m and men's 800m. Looking at the medal standings after the last event of the evening, Kenya was, so far, the only country that had more than one medal; a Silver and a Bronze in the men's 10,000m event.
After making some observations, I could not help but conclude that Kenyans are having a better chance to win more medals in Beijing that they won in the last edition given the way they are faring so far.
After all, Kenyans also never won any medal in the men's marathon event during the last world championships in Moscow and the nation still managed to be placed fourth in the overall medal standings behind Russia, USA and Jamaica. Kenya still became the best placed African nation at the Moscow world championships, despite having also missed to win any men's marathon medal.
This time round, the Kenyans have already managed to sail through to the semi-finals in one event that they have not been getting represented in at the world championships; the men's 400m hurdles. They also have got two strong women who will be participating in the 400m. Julius Yego too is more prepared this time round and stands a better chance to win the first ever medal for Kenya at the championships in the men's Javelin Throw. Kenyan athletes have also sailed through to the semi-finals in another event that was a disaster in Moscow; the men's 800m. It was another unimaginable phenomenon when the Kenyan men had failed to advance to the finals in this event in 2013.
With the medal prospects in the men's 800m, men's Javelin Throw, the men's 400m hurdles and perhaps some surprises possibly happening in the women 400m, the probability of Kenya performing better than they did at the last championships are very high.

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