Julius Yego, the ‘YouTube Athlete’, is a Kenyan field athlete in Javelin. He is the current African and Commonwealth Games record holder, Africa and World champion in Men’s Javelin.
He is one of the favorites for the gold medal in Men’s Javelin in the Olympic Games set for 5-21 August, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Below are 10 things you probably didn’t know about the Kenyan athlete.
Sources: TUKO, The Optimist, Spikes, TUKO, All-Athletics.com, Business Insider, BBC, HBR 103.5 FM
Yego has a unique relationship with ‘Number Four’. He is the fourth-born in a family of eight children. In his first javelin competition in primary school, he finished in fourth position. In his first participation in the national secondary school games in Meru County in 2004, he finished in the fourth position. At the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow, Russia in 2004, Yego was placed fourth in the final. Yego is placed fourth in the Men’s Javelin Throw Rankings for 2016, with 1,306 points.
He coached himself by watching other javelin athletes training sessions on YouTube. Some of the athletes included Jan Zeleny of Czech Republic and Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway. It earned him the name, the ‘YouTube Athlete’.
In 2011, Yego won a scholarship from International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to Finland, where he horned his skills in the sport. He trained at an IAAF-accredited centre in Kuortane, Finland.
He became the first Kenyan athlete to win a gold medal in field events at the World Athletics Championships. Yego achieved the feat with a throw of 92.72 metres in August 2015 in Beijing, China. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain, he finished 12th, becoming the first Kenyan athlete to reach a field final in Olympic Games.
Yego’s throw of 92.72 meters en-route to winning the gold medal at the 2015 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China earned him a place in the history of Javelin. It is the all-time third-longest after Jan Zelezny of Czech Republic (98.48m) and Aki Parviainen of Finland (93.09m).
Yego is employed by the Kenya Police Service. He is attached to the Criminal Investigations Department.
Yego’s favorite footballers are Victor Wanyama, the Kenyan national team captain who has just completed his move from Southampton to Tottenham Hotspurs, in the English Premier League. The other one is Michael Olunga, Kenyan international who plays for Djurgardens IF in Sweden.
Yego supports AFC Leopards in the Kenyan Premier League. Internationally, his favorite club is Arsenal Fc in the English Premier League. He is always torn for loyalty when Arsenal play Southampton in the English Premier League. This is a match that pits his favorite footballer, Victor Wanyama against his favorite club, Arsenal Fc.
In his high-school days at Kapsabet Boys in Rift Valley, Kenya, Yego also played football in the inter-schools games. He even played against current Kenyan international defender, Dennis Odhiambo of Thika United. Yego shifted to Javelin on full-time basis in 2006, after realizing he could achieve big in the field event.
Yego was also a runner while in primary school. He participated in the boy’s 10,000m. During an intra-school competition, Yego was lapped by the winner; a moment that embarrassed him and made Yego shift his attention to another sport, aged 13 years.