JTM TALK WITH JULIUS YEGO, KENYAN JAVELIN THROWER
APRIL 24, 2012. BY JTM
Next up, a world class Kenyan – THROWER!
In a place known historically for its world dominance of middle distance running, a new star is rising over the mountains of Kenya in javelin thrower Julius Yego.
In this Javelin Throw Magazine exclusive, we learn that at the heart of Kenya’s emerging elite athletes is a man who is already ahead of his time when it comes to winning big-time competitions. Yego began throwing javelin in Kenya during a time in his life when most teenagers would be exchanging text messages with friends or hanging out in internet social media chat rooms.
“In Kenya, there is no specified age or concern for kids to start javelin throwing and most athletes begin at age 16 or 17 which may be too late to really get a quality training start in javelin,” said Yego. It was because of the internet, however, that Yego would gain valuable insights to what his future holds in Track and Field. Being part of 21st Century youth, Yego took advantage of modern technology to bring international javelin throwing stars right to his desktop.
“I took interest in the javelin because it came naturally to me,” he said. “I received a lot of encouragement and motivation by watching Jan Zelezny, Andreas Thorlkidsen and Tero Pitkamaki videos on YouTube, especially from the 2004 Olympics.”
Yego reached his high school district finals in 2003, and in his second year, battled his way to a 4th place finish at Kenya’s Junior National Championships – at the age of 15! It was this experience that propelled Yego’s desire to win at higher levels of competition.
“During my third year of high school, I became more interested in pursuing big throws in the javelin, and reached 64 meters in winning the Kenyan Junior National Championships,” he said. As Yego wrapped up his senior year of high school, even bigger accomplishments were on the horizon.
“During my final year of high school in 2006, I broke the Kenyan Junior National Record of 67 meters with a throw of 71 meters,” he said, “but it could have been more rewarding if second place was more than 63 meters as it reminded me that there was not much interest in field events at all.”
After graduating high school, Yego sought out a career field where he could maximize his disciplinary skills and training by enrolling in law enforcement.
“I enrolled in the Police Service because I liked the profession and many athletes I knew worked there,” said Yego. “It not only paid well, but I knew I could get time to train.”
By 2009, Yego, after winning the Kenyan Senior National Championships was competing in international level competitions, nailing down a third place finish at an area Grand Prix competition in Nigeria with 69.96 meters. The experience drove Yego to turn up the action to new levels.
“In 2010, I won a Bronze Medal in Nairobi in the Senior Athletics Championships with a personal best of 74.51 meters, and a month later, threw another best of 75.44 meters,” said Yego.
Yego’s 75 meter toss won him a trip to the Commonwealth Games that year where he attributed lack of experience for his 6th place finish. When Yego returned to competition in 2011, he reminded his javelin community peers that he was still a rising force in the javelin world with an end-of-season performance at Maputo. Yego blasted a stellar personal best improvement and new Kenyan National Record of 78.34 meters!
With eight years of throwing experience behind him, coached by the superstars of the sport through YouTube, Yego finally received the coaching leadership that was in his early years limited to a computer monitor. After the benefit of a recent two-month training camp in Finland, Yego exceeded the 2012 Olympic Games B qualification standard of 79.50 meters with a new Kenyan national record throw of 79.95 meters at an Olympics Pre-Trial event in Nairobi, April 17. Yego is now well positioned for greatness this summer.
Let’s all keep watch on Kenyan Javelin superstar Julius Yego as he throws farther into history with each step he takes!
Must read (in French): Interview exclusive d'un Lanceur sympathique, brillant et plein d'avenir - link
Story of Julius Yego en France