By Omulo Okoth
Julius Yego, Kenya’s pioneer javelin thrower at the Olympics, is scaling new heights.
Coming from a country where javelin is not considered a great event alongside the more visible middle and distance track events, Yego made history by reaching the Olympic final in London.
In fact, even officials derisively refer to Maasai boys as better javelin throwers than formal sportsmen.
Yet Yego, who qualified for the Olympic Games after throwing 79.95m to attain the Olympic B-Standard 79.50, is in Friday’s final.
The 23-year-old Africa champion, set another national record in London on Wednesday night in the semi-finals inside the Olympic Park Stadium.
He threw the javelin 81.81 metres away to qualify for the final, which will be Friday night, the penultimate day of the Games.
He first threw 79.10m, then 79.33m before he landed the national record throw before a crowd that was bursting the seams inside the 80,000-seater Olympic Park Stadium.
He attributes his recent national records to specialized training he underwent in Finland and Bristol.
“I benefitted a lot from the specialized training in Finland and Bristol and I thank National Olympic Committee for arranging that camp,” said Yego.
Better known as YouTube javelin thrower after he followed tactics from the web videos before his triumph in All Africa Games in Maputo last year, Yego says he is happy to put Kenya’s name in the Olympic javelin final.
He will be competing against the world’s best throwers like defending champion from Norway Andreas Thorkildsen and former world champion Tero Pitkamaki of Finland.