NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – Julius Yego, better known to many as the ‘YouTube man’ defied all odds to win his first ever Olympic medal when he picked silver in Rio de Janeiro with his first throw of 88.24m, a season best for him.
The reigning World Champion suffered an injury heading into his penultimate throw in the final after foul-throwing in the second and third throws and absconding the fourth, due to a tear in his groin muscle.
Yego though had done just enough in the first to preserve his place on the podium and was leading until the fifth throw when German Thomas Rohler threw 90.3m to pip him to gold.
But that was just a culmination of his problems. He almost missed the flight to Rio as he arrived at the airport only to learn he didn’t have a ticket and after a near strike at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport, he finally got his ticket.
His coach Joseph Mosonik was initially set to travel after him and return to the country even before the final and another complaint saw his flight details altered to ensure he remained in Rio throughout.
In Rio, Mosonik had to endure four days without accreditation to the village and stayed out in a rented apartment.
“I didn’t have my coach for training for the first three days because he could not access the training field. Again, it is after I complained that everything was sorted out and he had accreditation. It was really bad because how can a coach lack accreditation?” posed Yego, speaking to Capital Sport after returning from Rio.
“I was not really happy with how NOCK (National Olympic Committee of Kenya) handled athletes in Rio. It was disorganised. Even Anzrah’s (John) case would not have reached to the levels it did if he had his accreditation on time.”
“It is very expensive staying outside the village in Rio because prices of everything were inflated. It was a disappointing scenario,” a frustrated Yego added.
Nonetheless, he didn’t let the mismanagement take the shine off his achievement, a first ever Kenyan to win an Olympic medal in a field event.
“I am very much happy with the silver and maybe if I was not injured, I would have thrown further. The qualification was difficult and I struggled in the first two throws but I remained confident because I knew I was in good shape. After the injury in the final, I was convinced I would get a medal because my first throw was really massive,” posed Yego.
“I was only a bit nervous of Rohler because he was in very good form this season being the world leader and I knew he would throw a huge distance. But nonetheless, this silver gives me a lot of excitement,” he says.
Yego now plans to take a two-month rest before he gets back to preparation for next season, top on his agenda being the defence of his world title in London.
The doctors have given him a three week rest period to ensure his torn groin heals 100 percent but he reckons he might travel to Austria for specialised treatment if the injury persists.
He was set to compete at the Lausanne and Paris legs of the IAAF Diamond League on August 25 and 27 but due to the injury, he has pulled out.
“It is important I give myself some rest for the body to recover because it has been a very tough season. All this time my focus was on an Olympic medal but it is all gone now. I have to focus on the Worlds. Javelin is growing very competitive now and I need to work harder.”