Capital FM (Nairobi)

23 July 2012

Kenya: You Tube Ace Yego Breaks Own Record

Photo: Capitalfm
Kenyan Javelin Thrower Julius Yego.

On Sunday, another milestone in Kenya's field athletics history passed almost unnoticed in these shores.

The self styled You Tube man, Julius Yego became the first Javelin thrower in history from the country famed for distance running to hurl over 80m when he beat his own national record with an 81.12m first round effort at the Finnish Elite Games.

This was another landmark achievement for Yego, who is internally competing with himself to top the Kenyan standard in Javelin since he burst to the scene at the Trials for the 2010 World Juniors in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Despite qualifying for the biennial event, Athletics Kenya declined to send him to Poland and the Kenya Police officer took matters to his own hands, forcing his way to the London Olympics when his enormous talent in Javelin could not be ignored.

Having no coach capable of training him in the technique to throw like his idols, world record holder, Czech Republic's Jan Zelezny, Olympic titleholder and two-time champion, Andreas Thorkildsen (Norway) and former world titleholder, Tero Pitkamaki, Yego turned to watching You Tube clips of his mentors to improve on his art.

Yego is clearly on the rise having improved his national standard from the 78.38m that won him the All Africa Games in Maputo last September through the 79.95m he threw in April in Nairobi that entered him in London 2012 as a special B-Standard participant to the 81.12m at the home of Javelin on Sunday.

"I must admit that this kind of a result was a surprise for me, too. I've thrown so far only a couple of times in training. It's been a good time here in Finland and I enjoyed a lot this atmosphere today," Yego who left the country on July 3 for London Olympics training camp in the UK city of Bristol, competed at the Finnish event on invitation told the IAAF.

"I feel very good, just going to London to participate in the Olympics feels very good. Being my first time, I do not want to say I expect a lot of things there. Just being a participant in the Olympics is good for me.

"If I make the finals, I will be very happy," he told Capital Sport ahead of departure for Bristol.

"I think in Kenya, we can have all the disciplines participating at the Olympics and major championships. It's just people maybe see that other sports are not well promoted or individually, potential athletes don't like it since they see distance runners making a lot of money.

"When you do something and believe in it, you will make it. It does not matter where you start," he asserted on his rise.

With his You Tube days behind him, he adds: "It requires commitment and discipline and using what you have to get what you want. You Tube was just like research.

"When I did not have a coach, I used a lot of money in Cyber Cafes and the gym to get into shape. I just believed in it and now, I have a qualified coach," he stated with a triumphant smile on his face

On his 76.68m effort that landed him the African championships gold in Porto Novo, Benin in another first for a Kenyan, Yego explained what the continental crown meant to him.

"Being an African champion is a great honour. When I was in the stadium everyone was looking at me and exclaiming, oh! Look! A Kenyan is winning the Javelin. Looking at South African and Egyptian athletes who have better facilities, winning filled me with so much pride."

Having set the bar for Javelin throwing in Kenya, Yego was adamant he is not chasing record every time he competes.

"You never speaking of breaking a record, it comes by itself. In Nairobi, it just came and in London, maybe, I don't know," he expressed.

At the Finnish Elite event where he was taking part after a previous two-month training stint in the Scandinavian nation earlier this year, Yego lined up alongside Pitkamaki, one of his cherished heroes who won in 84.90m on his sixth and last attempt.

For the Kenyan rising from obscurity to within 3.78m- though a yawning gap in the sport- of his idol still represents an enormous progression and the stuff dreams are made off.

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