Yego ready to break pain barrier for Olympics glory
World champion Julius Yego, famously known as the You Tube Man, is heading to next month’s Rio Summer Games with one goal in mind. To add the coveted Olympics gold medal on his decorated mantelpiece.
Yego, who is also a Commonwealth, two-time African and All Africa Games champion, says winning the biggest medal in his sport would be the most important fete for the man who has risen from obscurity to global stardom.
“I really want to win the Olympics. It is a big thing and everyone wants to win it,” the Commonwealth, African and national record holder.
Having endured a lukewarm lead up by his own elevated standards in the run-up to the Olympics, Yego who posed photos of his ankle strapped in bandage on his Facebook page on Thursday is optimistic he will spear his way to uncharted territory once again.
He needs no reminder of August 26, 2015 at the iconic Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Olympics Stadium when his javelin cut through the Chinese capital’s air like a knife through butter to land at the astonishing distance of 92.72m to be crowned world champion.
It only took him two throws to make re-write history then but Yego goes to Rio having only won twice this season- at home in Eldoret- this season with a season’s best of 84.68m that is ranked 17th in the world.
“Being a world champion is a great thing. Everyone looks at you. I don’t know what to say. I remember when I woke up in the morning. I knew everyone was looking at me.
“At the same time I knew everyone back home was looking at me. When our President was giving me the flag he asked me if I could do it and I told him. When I saw the Javelin fly I knew it was very, very, very big,” Yego recalled his moment at the IAAF World Championships that accommodated his name in sporting record books.
Although his stunning victory made global headlines and made everyone at home go bananas, even having a smash hit, Yego, belted in his honour by rapper Kaligraph, he had cemented his place as the favourite for Beijing by uncorking another monster 91.39m throw at the IAAF Diamond League meeting of Birmingham on June 7.
In Rio, an Olympics victory after becoming the first African to contest the men Javelin final at London 2012 will be nothing short of a modern fairytale, a miracle and wonder considering his uninspiring build-up and his latest injury scare.
Yego, who learned his trade on global video-sharing website; YouTube by watching the throwing technique of world record holder, Jan Zelezný of Czech Republic does not have the added pressure of captaining Team Kenya like he did in Beijing.
Since his phenomenal performance in Beijing, companies have queued up his door to endorse their products with other firms joining communications company Orange Kenya who continue to sponsor the fourth born in a family of seven.
Camera makers GoPro and East African Breweries through their brand Tusker have since joined the Yego bandwagon.
The 27 year-old father of one, Jarvis Kiptoo, throws are usually accompanied by a fall with the most memorable being at the Bird’s Nest.
“My strength is my hand. It is flexible and elastic, very nice. The falling is not a technique. Sometimes it happens sometimes it doesn’t happen,” he explained.
His struggles to ascend to the top of the men Javelin pile are well documented since Athletics Kenya (AK) almost shattered his dream when they declined to enter him for the 2008 IAAF World Juniors in Bydgoszcz, Poland despite throwing an outstanding 72.41m that was well inside the standard.
“At that point I didn’t want to do the Javelin because there was no support. Support was for 800m going up to the marathon. They overlooked the field events.
“Javelin is the sport in me. It is a talent I have. Part of my blood is written javelin. My sister and brother used to throw the Javelin also. I can’t sprint; I can’t compete in 800m or 100m. Javelin is the main talent I had. My family really pushed me,” he told Citizen Digital.
“I’ve registered my foundation. I’m looking for funds now to launch it. I want to teach people how to use the Internet to improve sports,” he touched on his legacy.
Despite little suggesting otherwise, an Olympics victory on current form would surpass anything he has done to date with the man who has made a habit of chasing and conquering history braced for his biggest challenge yet.
“I know I gonna be well despite the pain !!” he wrote next to the picture he posted of his injured ankle. With all what he has achieved, few can doubt him.
-Additional reporting by Waihiga Mwaura
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