It may not have been the perfect year for either of them, but Africa’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Julius Yego are hoping for an uplifting climax at the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018.
Ta Lou will be attempting an ambitious double before a sell-out crowd this weekend over 100m and 200m, and few would bet against the 29-year-old Ivorian in either event.
“It’s a year when I have had some personal problems and some physical problems, a very long season, but I am generally happy with how I have competed,” said Ta Lou. “I have managed to stay motivated, to race with a smile and I have been very consistent.”
Since May Ta Lou has run 13 100m races, eight 200m races, and she has been consistently impressive across either distance. It’s in the shorter sprint that her ability has been seen to best effect, Ta Lou clocking a world-leading 10.85 to start her outdoor season in Doha back in May.
Having competed at the last edition of the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech in 2014 (where she finished fourth in 100m in 11.28 and fifth in 200m in 22.78), Ta Lou is hoping for far better here in Ostrava and to wear her continent’s colours with pride when she takes to the track tomorrow.
“I want to finish strongly for Team Africa. It’s an honour to be chosen and I am very happy to have the chance to help my team win this great trophy. I hope we will be successful.”
For her fellow Team Rep Julius Yego, it’s so far been a season to forget.
The 2015 world champion in the men’s javelin has been well off his best, hampered by a persistent groin problem. The 29-year-old won the Kenyan title in June with his season’s best of 80.91m and though he backed that up with the African title last month in Asaba, his winning distance of 77.34m left him far from satisfied.
“Of course you’re excited to win a championships but to see the distance, it was not pleasing. Seventy-seven metres is way, way, way down compared to my best and you know, that happens. This is sport and sometimes you have good years and sometimes you have bad years. This was the worst season of my career but hopefully I will be back again.”