It was a day of many firsts for Julius Yego at the 2015 World Athletics Championships.
The YouTube-trained man on Wednesday set the Bird’s Nest alive when he claimed the javelin gold with a monster 92.72 metres throw in the final - an African record.
For a country largely known for its middle and long distance prowess, this is the Kenya’s first ever medal in a field event.
His throw was also not only the longest at the World Championships for 14 years, but the third longest of all time after Jan Zelezny’s (Czech) World record of 98.48 on May 25, 1996 and his World Championship record of 92.80m from the Edmonton Championships in 2001.
Standing only 5ft 8in/1.75m tall, the 26-year-old is diminutive by the standards of many javelin throwers.
THRILLED BY VICTORY
Yego believes his record throw will herald new era of field events in the country.
He was thrilled to beat his role model, Tero Pitkamaki of Finland.
“I have been throwing things around ever since I was a kid. I used to throw sticks and stones around the village as other children were playing hide-and-seek,” a jubilant Yego said.
“I have been planning for the world title the whole of this year and it really worked for me in this competition.”
The new world champion displayed a lot of confidence during the event and did not lose concentration even after faulting on his first attempt.
Yego needed only four throws out of the normal six, faulting on the first, hit 82.42m with his second attempt and his monster throw was the third before faulting again in the fourth attempt.
He then picked the national flag for a lap of honour at the iconic Bird’s Nest National Stadium in Beijing to celebrate his historic victory that made him the first ever Kenyan to win a field events gold medal at the World Championships.
Not even his coach, Petteri Pilonen from Finland, expected the athlete to chalk up 92m.
Yego, a father of one, urged those inspiring to join him in the field events to focus on their dream and work tirelessly.
“I expected him to do 89 and not 92 metres,” a shocked Pilonen said after the event.
Just like his coach, Yego said his focus is not on breaking the world record because that could interrupt his progression in developing very good techniques that can take him far.
Yego, who was born in Cheptonon village, Tinderet in Nandi County in 1989, has developed his javelin throwing skills through watching YouTube videos.
“I have developed my talent through watching videos of great throwers like Tero (Pitkamaki),” he added.
He said he was comfortable being referred to as “YouTube man” because that is where he started.