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East African athletes shines

  • Bahrain’s Mimi Belete, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, Kenya’s Mercy Cherono and Kenya’s Irene Chepet Cheptai compete in a heat of the women’s 5000 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium in Beijing on Photo: AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN
BEIJING – Ethiopian track sensation Genzebe Dibaba kept her bid for a world double well on track on Thursday with Usain Bolt later also going for a second sprint title.Dibaba coasted into the final of the 5,000m in her attempt to emulate elder sister and the event’s world record holder Tirunesh by adding to her comprehensive victory in the 1,500m.

“Winning the 1,500m gold medal gave me confidence but you never know what’s going to happen in the final,” said Dibaba, whose own world record in the 1,500m in Lausanne last month was the fourth she currently holds.

“If I continue my good performances, I can run faster than the current world record in the 5,000m (set by Tirunesh in Oslo in 2008).”

Kenya, meanwhile, continues to dominate the medals table at this stage of the competition with six golds and 11 medals in all.

There was a shock at Wednesday’s world championships when Kenya’s Julius Yego won gold with the third longest javelin throw of all time.

In all world championships since 1983, there has only been one non-European gold medalist, South African Marius Corbett in Athens in 1997. Otherwise, medals have remained largely the preserve of European countries.

Yego’s monster third round effort of 92.72 metres was the longest since Jan Zelezny threw 92.80 in 2001.

Julius Yego of Kenya celebrates after winning gold at the men's javelin throw final during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China, August 26, 2015.

Julius Yego of Kenya celebrates after winning gold at the men’s javelin throw final during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China, August 26, 2015.

His efforts were followed by more African silverware when Egyptian Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed claimed second spot with 88.99m for his country’s first-ever athletics world medal.

The astronomical rise of Yego, who famously honed his early technique from YouTube clips of his heroes, and El Sayed is in large part thanks to Finnish coach Petteri Piironen, who trains the African pair.

Piironen first came across Yego when a Finnish agent dealing with African athletes drew his attention to the then little-known Kenyan thrower.

And El Sayed in 2008 and Yego in 2011 earned scholarships to train at the IAAF-accredited centre in Kuortane in Finland, the country regarded as the spiritual home of the javelin.

“He has learnt good basics from YouTube and then of course you need someone to work together,”  Piironen said after proudly watching his two proteges score a 1-2 podium result.

“Yego’s throwing skills are quite good. He’s not strong and he’s not such a good jumper, but when he takes the javelin, starts to run and  throw, he’s one of the best.

“The basic technique and the run and rhythm are much better than some other throwers.”

Yego is gushing in praise of Piironen.

“He is a brilliant coach,” Yego said. “I still use the programme Petteri set me when I first met him. We created a good relationship and he is readily available to help me whenever I ask.”

eNCA

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