The story of Julius Kiplagat Yego has been told widely in both local and international press. The common denominator of his story is that of a young boy who gained interest in a sport not so popular in his country, watched some You Tube videos and, voila!, became an international star.
The ‘You Tube Man’, as he’s come to be known (he learnt javelin by watching You Tube videos of some of the greatest throwers such as triple Olympic Gold medalist Jan Zelezny and Beijing Olympics champion Andreas Thorkildsen), continues to stake his claim among the best of his generation.
On Tuesday night at the Ostrava Golden Spike meet, he smashed his javelin national record and personal best with an 86.88m throw.
After a foul first throw in Ostrava, Yego threw 72.87m on the second before shattering his previous personal best and national record mark of 85.40m on his third throw. The distance which was good enough to see him win the gold ahead of German Rohler Thomas and former World Champion, Finn Tero Pitkamaki.
The win was a feather in the cap for Yego who last year became the first Kenyan to win a Commonwealth title in a non-track event by claiming the javelin competition in Glasgow, Scotland. He also holds the distinguished record of being the first Kenyan to win javelin title at the All Africa Games which he achieved in 2011.
Yego was the only Kenyan among the 18 athletes who represent the country in Ostrava. David Rudisha failed to finish in the 600m after pulling up a muscle while Asbel Kiprop was beaten by Polish Marcin Lewandowski in the 1000m.
There was a special moment though for Carvin Nkanata, Kenya’s fast-rising sprinter. The US-born Kenyan lined up next to six-time Olympic Gold medalist Usain Bolt in the 200m.
He pulled off a reaction time of 0.197, 0.046 seconds faster than the Jamaican’s 0.243. However, Bolt dashed to the finish line stopping the clock in his seasonal best 20.13 while Nkanata was 5th in 20.97, 0.83 seconds outside his personal best.
Despite the lowly finish, the 24-year-old Africa Championships bronze medalist had much to celebrate.
“Today wasn’t my greatest race,” admitted Nkanata after the race. “But it was cool to compete against one of the best to ever do it (Usain Bolt),” he added.
Nkanata holds the Kenyan record over the 200m distance.