As the dust settles on the drama of Commonwealth Games javelin champion Julius Yego’s throw at the Birmingham Grand Prix, Kenyans have expressed mixed reactions and imagination of how far the Africa record holder will go this season.
As Yego responded to World champion Vitezslav Vesely’s sixth round effort of 88.18 metres by launching the javelin out to 91.39, many were dejected after it was ruled out. “It was bad that it was not accepted,” said David Leting, Athletics head coach.
However, after a protest the throw was made official. It is now an African record, Diamond League record, World lead and the best throw since 2006! Yes for the last ten years nobody has hurled the javelin any further.
“When it was accepted, I was very happy for him,” said Leting. “Yego will go far. His work is motivating many people. Now some children want to become javelin throwers. I feel a gold medal in Beijing is now a possibility.”
Czech athlete Vesely thought he had wrapped it up when he made a season’s best of 88.18m. However, Yego stepped on to the runway and turned the tables. He sent his javelin high into the air and it landed well beyond Vesely’s mark but was initially ruled to have fallen outside the sector.
It was up for debate, though, as the sector lines had not been extended beyond 87 metres. The throw was measured anyway – 91.39m for the record – but after close examination the judges said it was still outside the sector.
Twenty minutes after the meeting ended, with the stands now completely empty, the officials reversed their decision and awarded Yego the victory with his 91.39m throw. “Tuko na Julius, anything by a Kenyan is possible so long as you remain focused and determined to go the extra mile,” said Coach Steven Mwaniki.
AK Vice President David Okeyo said it was the best performance in the meeting and for Kenyans. “It was fantastic. I feel proud for being a Kenyan,” he said. “Yego is redefining the rules of javelin and he is an athlete who competes clean and fairly. If he keeps this on, a world record will be in the offing soon.”
The performance even surprised Japan’s giant sports apparel Mizuno, who Yego has signed with. On their official Facebook page, they posted Yego’s picture in Birmingham. “Amazing record @Julius Yego. Congratulations.” Yego also was not expecting the throw. He said on his Facebook page.
“Well that was astonishing! Tremendous absolute brilliant today I was,” he said. “God is the giver and never leave his people when they give a little prayer. Thank you lord thank you again.
“To my ever cheering and supportive fans around the globe, the distance is your reward 91.39m. It is just out of my thoughts but it’s real.” Yego is now a point below world champion Vesely (seven) in the Diamond League race.