| Julius Yego
BEIJING, CHINA - Kenyan javelin thrower Julius Yego started to garner widespread attention a few years ago, as he made a name for himself on the Diamond League circuit, as well as with a fourth-place finish at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
It was something of a curiosity – who had ever heard of a Kenyan athlete throwing the javelin. Kenyans ran distance races and marathons, usually very well. They didn’t do field events.
Yego is now officially no longer a curiosity. He is a world champion.
Yego needed a big throw on his third attempt to stay alive in the javelin finals on Wednesday night, and he got it. Using the technique of simultaneously launching the javelin and his body, Yego’s throw sailed 304 feet and two inches, and brought a thunderous roar from the large crowd at the Birds Nest Stadium. It was not only a personal best and an African record, but also gave Kenya its first-ever gold medal in a field event at the world championships.
Asked about his development in the event, the soft-spoken Yego said, “It’s a talent in me. I was born with it. I could run, but not as fast as these (other) Kenyans. Javelin is the sport I love – I needed to do it because it is the sport I love.
“No one introduced me to this sport – it is the sport I was dreaming of when I was still a young boy . . . when we were playing games and throwing sticks . . . at that time I was doing very well of throwing the stick in school and I knew I could throw the javelin very well in the future.”
Yego’s love affair with the javelin began to blossom after he watched the 2004 Olympics on TV. He began to study the technique by watching the top throwers on Youtube. He won his first national title in 2008, and a career was born.
Yego, just 26 years of age, said he is not done yet. The student of the sport he loves plans to keep working hard.
“Javelin is more than anything (based on) technique. I know I can improve and throw more than 92 (meters). I will keep working on my technique.”