Kenya’s Julius Yego, who produced a javelin throw of 92.72m, the best seen in 14 years, to win gold and third place on the all-time lists, recalled afterward how his javelin “career” had started when he played games as a child throwing sticks and stones.
“Javelin is the sport I love,” he told the post-event press conference.“I was born with it. I knew I could run but not as fast as other guys. Nobody introduced me to the javelin, it’s just the sport I started doing as a boy. It’s as you play games, you play hide-and-seek, so we were throwing sticks, throwing stones.”
Yego, who led the world standings coming into these Championships with his previous personal best of 91.39, set in Birmingham on June 7, added:
“It was really good for me to come to Beijing. I’ve always believed in myself. I really wanted to be a world champion.”
The 26-year-old Kenyan, who is just5ft 9in, has previously spoken of how he picked up tips and guidance by watching throwers on YouTube.
“YouTube Athlete is my nickname now,” he said, adding that one of the people who “made it happen” for him was Finland’s2007 world champion Tero Pitkamaki, who was sitting alongside him as bronze-medallist with 87.64.
“He is among the icons I was always watching to know what kind of training they are really doing,” Yego said. “So YouTube Athlete is my name but maybe it is my brand as well.
“I always believed that Kenya has tremendous talents and we proved that yesterday with Bett winning the 400metres hurdles and today with my victory. And I’m sure as we continue we will see many Kenyans coming up to the field and to sprints. We have talents there and if we can identify them in the early stages I’m sure Kenya will always be on top in the World Championships and Olympics.
“My second throw was only 82 meters, the technique wasn’t very good. My coach called me and told me what I am doing wrong. I knew I needed a very big throw to make it into the top 8. I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, that somebody must throw over 90 meters to win this final. But the only person I was really fearing was Tero.
“In 2004 when I watched the Olympics in Athens, I was really impressed to see Tero and other guys doing well. And at the time I was good at throwing sticks, so I knew I could be a javelin thrower in the future.
“Javelin is based on technique more than any other event so I have to work and keep improving my techniques. Before this World Championships, I was training in South Africa during winter time and in Europe.
“My coach Petteri Piironen is from Finland so he had to go to SouthAfrica for winter with his team and I joined them. You learn more when you train with others. Also, we do have as good facilities in Kenya as in Europe or in South Africa. I also trained in Nairobi. Coach Piironen wasn’t able to come to Nairobi but we came to Beijing one week before the competition.
“I can’t promise I will beata world record. 98 meters is really far.”
Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed of Egypt, who earned silver with 88.99, commented:
“I’m crazy happy today because I won the first medal ever for my country. There was no athletics in my country, only football. The teacher in school said I can try some sports and I tried and I threw 51 meters in the first competition and I won. I’m happy about that now. Now in Egypt, there are many people training in athletics. And I hope many Egyptians will do good things in track and field soon. I can speak, I feel like I dream now…”
Pitkamaki commented: “I’m not disappointed today, actually I’m satisfied. It was maybe the best competition in my career. Julius managed this massive throw of over 92 meters and after that my gold trip collapsed. But I’m still satisfied with my throws today, that was a good series.
Now I have gold, silver, and bronze-medal from World Championships. I would like to have another gold but Julius was much better than the rest of us.”