Gatlin lands for Kip Keino Classic, heaps praise on Yego, Omanyala
Two-time world 100m champion Justin Gatlin has singled out former world javelin champion Julius Yego and national 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala as trailblazers of their disciplines in the Kenya.
Gatlin said he admires the duo for reinventing Kenyan athletics that since time immemorial has heavily hinged on distance races.
“I like the fact that it is no longer about distance, you have sprinters now and that is why I like (Julius) Yego in javelin and Omanyala who has run 9.86. I think it shows this country can do other events as well and so I am proud of them and all the athletes here,” said Gatlin.
Gatlin was speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when landed in Kenya for the first time on Thursday morning ahead of the Kip Keino Classic meet on Saturday.
“This is my first visit to Kenya. I have travelled the world alot for over 20 years but I am so excited to be here. To run in the motherland is important for me,” he said.
The 2004 Olympic champion who was accompanied by his coach Dennis Mitchell be will competing in his final race of the season on Saturday while also continuing his recovery from a hamstring injury.
“I think at the moment I am gauging about 85-90 percent. I feel like I am getting stronger again, I lost alot of power from the hamstring injury but I have been improving thanks to my coach and I hope I can run something good here,” he said.
Gatlin will race with Omanyala and Trayvon Bromell, who has the leading time this year.
Others are the US pair of Tyree King and Mike Rodgers as well as the French pair of Mouhamadou Fall and Amaury Gortin and Nigeria’s Jeremiah Ogheneruemu.
At 39, Gatlin who has had an illustrious career spanning over two decades said he is already planning for life after he hangs his spikes.
“We are going to sit down with my coach to plan for the next season but beyond that I want to show more of my humanitarian side. I want to build a program to help athletes across the world especially where they lack some of the facilitie