NAIROBI, August 26- Julius Yego continued his amazing stretch of pioneering achievements when he became the first Kenyan athlete to win a field event gold medal at the IAAF World Championships with his astonishing 92.72 metres monster throw in Beijing on Wednesday.
Kenya’s fifth gold of the championships was achieved by a huge new national and African as well as a world leading throw that was the longest in 14 years. It is also the third longest in the history of the Javelin since new rules came to play.
The ‘You Tube Man’ who shares a room and manager with surprise men 400m Hurdles champion, Nicholas Bett, achieved greatness with his third throw after his first effort was red-flagged before he posted 82.42 m in his second.
“We have massive talent if it can be identified and nurtured. Kenya can be the best at Olympics and World championships if it is harnessed,” Yego who is coached by renowned Finn Petteri Piironen said at the Bird’s Nest in the afterglow of another pioneering milestone in a sport he chose on a one man mission to prove the country is not only good at distance events.
“If you stay focused and believe in yourself, you can achieve your goal. I’m very happy to be the first Kenyan to win a field event gold medal at World Championships,” the father of one, son Jarvis Kiptoo added as he struggled to contain emotions.
“I was expecting 89 but not 92. That was massive and hardwork finally paid off,” his coach added.
“I was expecting a gold medal because this year I have been preparing for this event. Even the Birmingham throw was just by chance,” Yego emphasised.
However, his shining conquest came under the dark cloud of news that broke as they prepared to start the final that teammates Joy Zakari (women 400m) and Francesca Koki (women 400m Hurdles) had returned positive tests.
Naturally, the spearing hero who shot to number three on Twitter trends worldwide following his groundbreaking achievement was not impressed by the development as he faced a battery of international reporters.
“It is really so shameful but I don’t want to dwell much on that. I believe you can win clean,” he remarked whilst condemning the two sprinters who were busted after being tested at the team hotel before they featured in the heats of their events on Monday and Tuesday.
Then his golden moment came when his spear sailed through the air, piercing through what the stacked field had to offer before it landed with the powerfully built Kenya Police Service officer clenched his fist and pumped his arms aloft in sheer delight.
Yego’s mark also moved him to third on the world all-time list, behind world record-holder Jan Zelezny (98.48m) and Finland’s Aki Parviainen (93.09m).
Round three finally decided the competition. First to go was defending champion Vitezslav Vesely of the Czech Republic, who needed a good throw to make it through to the last three rounds. It wasn’t as far as he would have liked, but the 32-year-old’s 83.18m was enough to earn him three more attempts.
Then came former African record holder, Egypt’s Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed shook up the final when he hurled 88.99m for his season’s best after German hopeful, Thomas Rohler shot to the early lead with 87.41m.
Germany’s Andreas Hofmann threw 84.85m, which meant that Yego was down to eighth place before his third throw but with several athletes throwing after him.
Under pressure to get a better mark, the Kenyan came up with something special.
El Sayed settled for the second medal with Osaka 2007 World champion and Yego’s training partner in Finland, Tero Pitkamaki taking bronze with 87.64m after winning silver in Moscow where the Kenyan star returned fourth.
The fourth round ended the movement in the medal positions, the last significant move coming when Pitkamaki unleashed his best effort of the competition, 87.64m.
The last two rounds included several good throws, including a 90-metre-plus foul from the winner Yego in the sixth round, but the medal positions were unchanged.
It was one of the best competitions of all time; for the first time in history, five athletes threw beyond 87 metres in the same competition.
The winning mark of 92.72m is also only eight centimetres from the championship record, set by Zelezny in 2001.
Yego’s most memorable campaign so far started with a lukewarm sixth finish in the Diamond League opener in Doha (81.98/May 15) but the world sat and took notice with what ensued as he went ahead to hammer down his national standard thrice in successive outings.
He won the Ostrava Golden Spike IAAF World Challenge meet in 86.88 on May 26 before finishing second to world champion, Vítězslav Veselý in 87.71m at the Rome Golden Gala DL (June 4) to set the stage to his most jaw-dropping performance to date.
The 26-year-old pioneer of the spear delivered a monstrous throw of 91.39 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham to sit on top of the world lists ahead of China although that final-round throw was not without controversy.
It was originally ruled as a foul for being outside the sector, despite the javelin sailing well beyond the white markings. But Yego’s protest was upheld and the African record was broken.
“I skipped most of the throws because I had a tight hamstring, so I was keeping it back. I only did three throws, but it will come better than that,” he said immediately after that competition.
-Material from IAAF added to this report