Kenya's javelin star Julius Yego heads to SA
Former world javelin champion Julius Yego of Kenya will travel to South Africa to compete in the Athletix Grand Prix next month‚ organisers announced in a statement early Monday morning.
The 2016 Olympic silver medallist is the second big foreign name for the three-meet series after world 100m champion Justin Gatlin of the US.
Yego will take part in the third meet at the Dal Josaphat stadium in Paarl on March 22.
The reigning Commonwealth Games champion from Glasgow 2014 taught himself to throw the javelin by watching footage of legendary Jan Zelezny and Andreas Thorkildsen on YouTube.
His self-grooved technique was good enough to win the All Africa Games crown in Maputo in 2011‚ catching the eye of Finnish agent Jukka Harkonen who organised that Yego get official training in Finland.
“My technique was very raw‚” Yego‚ 29‚ was quoted as saying in the statement.
“You cannot learn technique in such a technical event on YouTube.
"You need someone to watch you and correct what you are doing.
"So the two months that I spent in Finland made a big difference to my career.”
He made the final at the 2012 London Olympics and then landed gold at the 2015 world championships in Beijing.
“We are used to competing at big meetings in Europe‚ the States and Asia so when my agent informed me of the meeting in Paarl‚ I immediately jumped at the chance.
“To be able to compete in South Africa‚ on the African continent‚ is important to me as it helps in growing our sport‚” said Yego‚ whose success has made javelin become more popular in Kenya‚ normally known for distance running.
“We are limited with resources‚ but more and more kids are now attempting their hand at the javelin.
“We are known globally as middle and long distance champions‚ but with my medals and the two 400m hurdlers [Nicholas Bett and Boniface Mucheru]‚ youngsters are beginning to realise that not everyone is cut out to be a long distance athlete and that they can also make an impact on the world stage in other athletics disciplines.”
After struggling with injury in 2017‚ Yego is looking forward to the new season.
“I am now healthy and injury free‚ so I am excited for what 2018 may hold.”