Kenya is renowned for its distance runners who have won races all over the world.
The Kenyans showed their prowess again recently at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, where they won 10 gold medals.
Nine of the 10 gold came in running events, while Julius Yego made history as the first Kenyan to be crowned Commonwealth Games champion in the javelin.
Yego’s winning throw of 83.87 meters came in the third round of the javelin competition.
The 25-year-old Kenyan decided to pass on his three remaining attempts because he was afraid he would aggravate a groin injury suffered during warm-ups.
“I slipped on the warm-up track,” said Yego. “I thought about pulling out, but I spoke to my coach and I decided I couldn’t pull out of this championship.”
The track in Glasgow was slippery from pouring rain that made the competition challenging for Yego and all the javelin throwers.
Yego has a stocky, powerful physique. He says as a young boy growing up in the Rift Valley region of Kenya, he gave up running and took up the javelin because he was so slow.
To improve his technique, Yego studied YouTube videos of athletes like Czech great Jan Zelezny, the three-time Olympic champion and world record holder in the javelin.
Yego has shown steady improvement in his throws over the past five years, and Kenyan officials recognized his hard work by naming him captain of the country’s athletics team in Glasgow.
After his Commonwealth Games gold medal, Julius Yego is now planning to defend his African javelin title next week in Marrakesh, Morocco.