I have to take a break from our “Thinking Series” to reflect on an inspiring story that I’ve followed for a while now. The IAAF world championship was just completed in Beijing China & a young man from Kenya Julius Yego won the Gold medal in a field event that Kenya is not known for “Javelin“.
Julius Kiplagat Yego (born 4 January 1989) is a Kenyan track and field athlete who competes in the javelin throw. He is the African record and Commonwealth record holder for the event with a personal best of 92.72 metres.
He won the javelin title at the All-Africa Games in 2011 and at the African Championships in Athletics in 2012 and 2014; at the 2013 World Championships he placed fourth, losing a medal in the final round. In 2014, he became the first Kenyan to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal in a field event.
At the 2015 World Championships he won the gold medal with a throw of 92.72m, becoming the first Kenyan to win a World Championships gold medal in a throwing event.
Kenya has produced 79 Olympic track and field medalists but zero have come from the field side of the equation. As a field athlete from a country that produces mainly track stars, Yego has had to take an unorthodox path to the top. The 26-year-old does not have a coach, and learned how to throw by watching YouTube video of the sport’s greats.
Yego became interested in the javelin throw as a youth and he watched videos of athletes such as Jan Zelezny and Andreas Thorkildsen on YouTube to help with his technique.
He competed in the high school regional championships in 2003. In 2006 he won the national junior title and broke the Kenyan junior record with a throw of 67m. More renowned for distance runners, Yego quickly ascended to the top of the Kenyan scene. He won his first national title in the javelin at the age of nineteen in 2008 and defended it in both 2009 and 2010.
In respect of this achievement the IAAF (the sport’s governing body) gave Yego a six-month scholarship to train alongside elite javelin coaches in Europe, with the aim of preparing him for the 2012 London Olympics.
His story is so fascinating & resonates with me a lot. I will like to draw some nuggets from him.
- Julius dared to be different. In a country renowned for runners ( long & mid distance), he chose Javelin. This was a childhood dream of his & he followed his passion with all his might. He could have just blended with the crowd & ditch javelin for running, I am sure he would have just been an average runner & maybe we would not have heard about him today. Do you have a talent, a gift, a vision about doing something different? You feel out of sort & just wish you could find someone or something to identify with. Take Julius as an example & be a trail blazer. Don’t just sit on you backside & wish, take action today & let the world see that unique greatness in you.
- Julius looked for & found a solution: After he decided that Javelin was his sport, he faced the task of training & qualifying for the event as national & international levels, but he had no coach. The sport was relatively unknown in Kenya, instead of whining about it, he used what he had to get what he wanted. Julius started watching YouTube videos about the sport, YouTube became his coach, he looked for & found a solution. How many of us start something new & then give up when faced with obstacles? My mentality in life is that “I AM A SOLUTION PROVIDER“, I will give it what it takes to get a solution. In Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki says he doesn’t say or think “I CANT” instead he says or thinks about “HOW CAN I?” That is the mentality of a champion!!! Learning is not restricted to the 4 walls of a classroom & Julius has taught me that. My son told me about his interest & love for skate boarding & roller skating, so last Christmas I bought him a pair of Rollerblade & since I didn’t know how to train him, we also went on YouTube & watched how it’s done. My son picked it up in 2 weeks & was all over the house. I took him to the park about 2 months ago & I was amazed at what he could do.
- Julius was finally recognized: Julius decided what he wanted to do, hatched a plan to look for & find a solution to sidestep obstacles along his way & finally he was recognized for his talent & tenacity. The IAAF gave him a 6-months scholarship to train with the best of coaches as he prepared for the 2012 Olympics, he trained & threw a record 79.95m which qualified him for the Olympics finals, thus becoming the first Kenyan to compete in the Javelin event at the Olympics. He came 12th in that competition, but continued to work on his game & since 2013 has won Gold in all of the events he’s been part of till his latest Gold in China where he has set a new African record.
Now in Kenya he is a national hero known by all as the YouTube Man!!!
What is it that you have in mind to do? Is it a new thing? Whatever it is start it NOW!!!
Have you started something & its looking difficult? be dogged about it, use what you have to get what you need!!!
Don’t give up, the solution is out there!!!
Have you been holding on & feel it’s not working & you are about to give up? Please don’t give up, your reward is ahead
This is my snippet, I AM SHALOMESQ!!!