Julius Yego at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
When Julius Yego makes his US debut at this year’s Prefontaine Classic, he will line up against three other global javelin champions at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene on 28 May.
The 27-year-old Kenyan set an African record of 92.72m to win gold at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, producing the farthest throw in the world since 2001. Earlier in the year, he set an IAAF Diamond League record of 91.39m when winning in Birmingham.
Three other men in the field have won global titles in the javelin.
Keshorn Walcott shocked the world in 2012 when he won Olympic gold while still a junior. Last year he set a Caribbean record of 90.16m when winning at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne.
Vitezslav Vesely of the Czech Republic won the world title in 2013 and triumphed in Eugene one year later. The two-time Diamond Race winner missed an Olympic medal by less than a metre in 2012.
No one in the field has as many major gold medals as Andreas Thorkildsen. The Norwegian superstar, who will turn 34 on 1 April, has missed most of the past two years due to injuries. The 2009 world champion has pointed to making a strong comeback in 2016, with the goal of winning a third Olympic gold, having won in 2004 and 2008.
Egypt’s Ihab Abdelrahman took the silver medal in Beijing last summer. Yego is the only African man ever to have thrown farther than Abdelrahman.
Germany’s Thomas Rohler and Johannes Vetter are still seeking their first major international medals, though 2014 Diamond Race winner Rohler was just 23 centimetres away in Beijing last year. Vetter, who was seventh at last year’s World Championships, has the early world lead at 82.96m.
All seven men in the field have personal bests superior to the meeting record of 84.65m.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL