Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: Olympics Star Yego Targets Zurich Sunshine

Nairobi — Kenyan Javelin king Julius Yego is not ready to quit his beloved YouTube despite cracking to the top echelons of his sport at London Olympics.

Yego who made history as the first athlete from Africa to make the Olympics final when he set a continental record of 81.81m in the qualifying rounds will write the next chapter in his bludgeoning career when he competes at the Zurich Diamond League meeting on August 30.

"The organisers have invited me there and although I'm still working on my injured knee, I'm looking forward to the challenge," he told Capital Sport on Tuesday.

"It will be a different experience for me and I hope it will be the first of many such events," the Kenya Police officer who was among the few Team Kenya athletes for London 2012 who emerged with credit from the 30th Olympiad added.

He was alluding to the knee strain he suffered while warming up for the Olympics final that saw him emerge for the medal contest heavily strapped.

"I'm training to be at my best and working towards being close to 100 percent since I can feel the effects but there has been improvement since I arrived from London," Yego who will depart to Switzerland two days prior to one of the DL finales disclosed.

Yego was ranked last among the 12 finalists with a best throw of 77.15m having also recorded 72.59m and 74.08m in his other attempts but there was no shame in propping up the field since he had to smash the pain barrier to fulfil his cherished dream.

His biggest moment at London 2012 where his country sent 44 competitors in athletics, came in his final throw at the qualifiers where he nailed his place in the medal competition when he threw his fifth national record in seven months of 81.81m.

"It was fantastic; I was just feeling proud to have made the finals. It was my dream to be at the finals since the start of this year and it really worked as I had planned and I'm happy about my performance," he gushed.

"I remember before I did my last throw, the head coach of Finland called me and told me, just remember what we said before you went to the stadium, just make 80m and that will be enough for you to make the final.

"By then, I was in position 5 in the group and only five guys had made 80m when the Javelin, I knew this was to make or break my dream and I just took the advice of the coach, hit the runway and when I released, I knew I had hit the right technique and it just flew," he recollected the groundbreaking moment on August 8 that engraved his name in the annals of Olympics history.

The athlete, who forced his way to national reckoning when he employed the technique he learned from watching his heroes on video channel YouTube to win the All Africa Games title in Maputo last September with the then national record of 78.34m, was alluding to Tero Kristian, the Finnish coach he trained under earlier this year.

On the final won in stunning fashion by Trinidad and Tobago athlete Keshorn Walcott with a best effort of 84.58 that was a national record, Yego admits the events that unfolded were peculiar to say the least.

"It was a strange final and I don't what happened. For me, I twisted my knee before I entered the stadium and I had to strap it. The guy who won is someone I beat in qualification and he won the World Junior in Barcelona.

"In competition, you have to accept the outcome and it was his day. He hit the technique and everybody was missing it. The world leader (Vítězslav Veselý, Czech Republic) managed 83m and for most it was a disaster on the day," Yego explained.

"I'm so happy since I'm sure I have inspired the upcoming generation here at home. I know next year, we shall have many guys qualifying in other disciplines such as Long jump and Hammer since they now know we can have success in the field," the shortest Javelin thrower at London 2012 standing at 5 ft 9 ins expressed.

As for YouTube, he asserted he would not stop using the channel and the web to stay in touch with developments in his sport.

"I can't leave; we use the e-world to check what is happening. I have revisited my performances in London and after winning the African title, my prayer is to get the Worlds medal in Russia next year," he stated his plans for the immediate future.

Having seen Kenyans dominate distance running for ages, the world better start getting used to a new crop of gifted athletes led by Yego who opened a new frontier for his compatriots at the London Olympics.

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