Julius Yego: From Youtube to Javelin World Champion

Julius Yego

Julius Yego: From Youtube to Javelin World Champion

Interview by Curtis Sutton

While most Kenyan track and field athletes are well known for their results on the running track, there is one Kenyan athlete from Nandi County who has stood out and shown it’s possible to achieve your dreams even when they might feel too big.

Julius Yego is a Kenyan Javelin thrower who has achieved some remarkable results in the past years.

2014 – Commonwealth Games Glasgow, United Kingdom 1st 83.87m
2014 – African Championships Marrakech, Morocco 1st 84.72m
2015 – World Championships Beijing China 1st 92.72m

Julius’s journey stared when he became interested in the javelin throw as a youth and watched videos of athletes Jan Zelezny and Andreas Thorkildsen on YouTube to help with his technique.

Julius’s story illustrates how determined world champions are to reach their goals. They will pursue knowledge and learn however possible to get the best results.

Who or what first inspired you to take up athletics and specifically javelin? Did you play any other sports before starting athletics?

The desire to be the best in the world at a sport was definitely a key motivator, I had always dreamed of representing my country as an athlete. I love javelin, I believe it to be a talent that I was born with. God has given me this talent within my blood. Before starting to do javelin, I was playing soccer in school.

One of the most interesting parts about your progression as an athlete has been your ability to improve your technique using YouTube videos. Do you think that every athlete should utilise new media to help improve their abilities?

Yes, I definitely believe that all athletes should utilise videos to compare and improve their technique. The power of the Internet is clearly evident within my career, it is real and people need to believe in it.

With your recent win in the IAAF World Championships, where you threw a massive 92.72m, putting you in the top 5 best javelin throwers in the world. Can you describe what you felt after that throw?

It is truly unbelievable being the 3rd best javelin thrower in history! Winning the World Championships was certainly the major contributing factor to my feelings of happiness. I can’t express the exact emotions that I had, but it is a huge accomplishment in my career, and I thank God for being able to accomplish such things.

With this massive win in the World Champs, are you feeling confident a year out from the Rio Olympics? Has this motivated you to train harder?

Yes, I am confident; as I believe in the way I do things. I always make sure to train harder to achieve the unexpected. I will be focusing on my abs and core in training, as I want to be leaner than last year. I also need to work on my elevation, as I noticed that I have been dragging down on release, which hinders the flight of the javelin. I noticed this recently in a competition in Birmingham, as it was a good result but could have been better if I hadn’t dragged down at release. I can’t think of any current revolutions within the javelin event.

How do you prepare yourself before an event? Do you feel more pressure now that the world knows your talent and expects you to do well?

I believe that putting pressure on yourself before a competition can kill your self-confidence. Therefore, not pressuring yourself is paramount to a good performance. This included the people around me, I prefer them to respect me and pressure me as little as possible. Sometimes playing football is good for relieving this pressure.

Often athletes can burn out if they focus their entire lives on their chosen sport, how do you find a balance? What techniques do you use to recover and recoup after events and during down time?

I mostly recover using a medicine ball; this tends to help a lot with recovery.

What are your goals for the next 5 years? With such great performances and progression, surely you must be aspiring to crack the 100m?

As long as I am fit and healthy, my main aim is improving my results. Distance comes with good technique and through consistent training. If my body responds well to training, then hopefully one day I will be ready to throw 100m. I will be ready to try for 100m in the future, but for now technique improvement will be my main focus. The 100m only comes to those who have the best technique.

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