Athletics Athletics

‘You Tube Man’ to star at CNN, eyes Worlds


NAIROBI, Kenya, December 12- Julius Yego, the first African to compete at an Olympics javelin final, is shaping up to scale the podium at next year’s World Championships in Moscow.

Yego, the African javelin record holder, is also eyeing a share of the Samsung Diamond League pie after he made an auspicious debut at the elite circuit competition following his London heroics.

“My vision is to be at the podium at the World Championships or just to be next to the medals. I was 12th at the Olympics where it did not go well but just like everybody else, winning a medal remains my target for Russia,” Yego said late on Tuesday.

His progression in a sport that is alien to most of his compatriots will see Yego featured in a U.S. cable news giant CNN documentary in January with shooting completed on Tuesday.

“We heard Yego teaching himself on You Tube to throw the javelin and as a result of his own achievement, he became the first Kenyan to compete in javelin at the Olympics and we thought it was such an extraordinary story of individual determination and we decided to film it,” CNN Francesca Church said during the filming in Nairobi.

“It makes me proud but since my success, I do not have anyone yet who is willing to join me in this sport and I hope the profile I will get will inspire others although nowadays, people where I live always stop to pass their greetings,” the 23-year-old police officer explained on his new found status.

Having found a coach and manager in Norway when his ground breaking exploits caught the attention, Yego will continue with build-up to next season at home before flying to the Nordic state to sharpen his skills ahead of the start of the global track and field season.

“My coach advised me not to travel to Norway since it is winter at the moment and not being used to those conditions could lead to injury for me. I’m currently doing a lot of gym work to gain strength since I’m targeting to throw 85m next season having done 81,” Yego underscored.

Having won his first All Africa Games title last year with a then 78.34 Africa record, Yego exploded this year with three continental records that saw him become the first from his nation to qualify for the Olympics from his nation before booking a place in the final.

Throws of 79.95m (Nairobi/April), 81.12m (Norway/July) and 81.81m (London/August) erased his Maputo Pan African Games standard before his maiden appearance at the Zurich leg of the Diamond League in August yielded a best effort of 78.74m for a fifth finish.

“People go to make money at the Diamond League and for me, the first time I was there was to just feel the competition and I was happy,” said the athlete who was deemed not worthy by Athletics Kenya to travel to the 2008 World Junior Championships despite qualifying.

He added: “My aim is to compete with the champions next season and having seen what it takes, I’m getting ready to face them.”