Japan based Charles Yosei is confident ahead of Rio Olympic Games in Brazil after he was reshuffled from his initial 10,000m to 5,000m set to begin in Brazil next month.
The reigning Africa Cross country bronze medalist, finished second behind winner Paul Tanui in the national/Olympic trials held at Kipchoge Keino stadium in Eldoret in 10,000m to book for Rio games ticket but he was changed from 10,000m to 5,000m by head coach Julius Kirwa but he insists he is fit to rule the world.
Speaking in Eldoret after his morning training at the Kipchoge Keino stadium, Yosei said he has been running in both races and changing from one race to the other will not affect his performance in the ‘Samba nation’ to challenge for gold.
“I have experience in both races after running such races in Japan where I do much of my training. Changing me from 10,000m where I qualified to 5,000m will not affect my ambitions for gold. At the same time, the former was crowded and I had to fill a gap in the later and we will join forces to ensure we come home with gold,” said Yosei.
The 20 year-old who runs for Toyota team Arako will not run with fellow Japan based runner Paul Tanui in 10,000m.
“I know my race has been slashed by half but that won’t worry me at all. Since my training is good and I pray that God will guide me to win in Rio, said Yosei.
He added: “Coaches saw something good in me and decided to position me to compete in 5,000m and not the 10,000m and I am fit for that since it will not be my first time to compete in the category.”
Yosei wants to emulate John Ngugi, the only athlete to have won gold medal for Kenya in the category. He won the race in the Seoul Olympics in 1988 in South Korea.
Other Kenyans who have won medals in the race include:
Eliud Kipchoge, now competing in marathon won silver in 2008 in Beijing China,
Paul Bitok (1996 and 1992) and Kipchoge Keino in 1968 and bronze medalist are Thomas Longosiwa (2012), Edwin Soi (2008), Eliud Kipchoge (2004) and Naftali Temu (1968).
“In 10,000m, we were four of us (Charles Yoesi, Bedan Karoki, Geoffrey Kamworor and Paul Tanui) while 5,000m they were two (Isaiah Koech Kiplagat and Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku) so I had to feel the gap after coach’s’ advice,” said Yosei adding that they are praying to ensure the elusive 5,000m gold comes home.
Yosei came into limelight after competing in Africa cross country championships in Yaoundé, Cameroon in March where he won bronze.
“In Yaoundé, I ran with pain since the course was bad and I had picked a groin injury that did not allow me to run well especially on slopes while going up and down but I was good on flat course,” he said.
But he insisted that Kenya lacks good facilities for training especially during rainy season that currently has been affecting athletes training programme in Eldoret.
“In Japan, we have enough facilities for training; even if it rains we have to go for training compared to Kenya. The track is good and the concentration is good and there it is good for speed work but when I come to Kenya, it is good for loading,” he added.