News Brief

Get to Know Julius Yego, Kenya's Self-Taught Olympic Javelin-Thrower Dubbed ‘The Youtube Man’

Despite not having a coach or training facilities, Yego is competing for gold in men’s javelin throwing on August 17 in Rio.

Who knew you could learn how to become an Olympian by watching Youtube videos?


That’s the hack Kenyan Olympic javelin-throwing-phenom Julian Yego of Kenya’s Cheptonon village used to excel at the sport that entails throwing a spear long-distance. It has earned him the nickname, “The Youtube Man” throughout Kenya. In 2015, Yego took home a gold medal at the world championships after launching a javelin 92 meters— that’s an impressive 301 feet. He’s also the first Kenyan to qualify for a field event at the Olympics, and a two-time All African Games champion. In 2012 at the latter sporting event, Yego catapulted a javelin 81.81 meters (265 feet), making history as the first Kenyan and African to have ever achieved such a feat.

However, behind every success story is a set of obstacles that has to be overcome. He first discovered javelin-throwing, which he says flows in his blood, at the village primary school located five miles from his home. Yego started competing there, forming makeshift javelins from branches removed from nearby trees.

Yego’s father was less than pleased when he learned his son had picked up the sport. “He wanted me to pursue education,” the Olympian says in the autobiographical video below. “I used to not tell him that I’m going for competition.”

In addition to his father’s disapproval that he was placing his javelin career over his education, Yego didn’t have a coach in Kenya or a javelin facility where he could train. Determined to continue his training in the track and field event, the future-Olympian turned to Youtube. “I would go to the cyber [cafe], look at the great javelin throwers, see what they do in their normal

in their normal training, and I would come and practice the following day.”

And the 27-year-old Kenyan’s road to Rio has been made rocky as he learned recently that his coach won’t be present until the day before he competes for gold in men’s javelin throw on August 17. A week ago, Yego alleged he’s a victim of sabotage on Facebook.

Yego will have to lean on his humble beginnings to achieve his Olympic dreams, but they're well within his grasp.

Watch the incredible story of “The Youtube Man” below:

Music

The Fugees Will Be Playing Live Concerts In Ghana & Nigeria

Ready or not.

The legendary Fugees have announced that they will be reuniting for their first shows in 15 years for a string of concerts across North America, Europe and West Africa.

The reunion tour will be celebrating the anniversary of their classic 1996 album, The Score.

Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel will be embarking on a 12-city global tour, which will have them landing in Nigeria and Ghana for a pair of December show dates — we'll have more details on those to come.

The tour starts this week with a 'secret' pop-up show at an undisclosed location in New York City on Wednesday (9/22) in support of Global Citizen Live. The rest of the dates will kick-off in November and see The Fugees playing concerts across Chicago Los Angeles, Atlanta, Oakland, Miami, Newark, Paris, London, and Washington DC, before finishing off in Nigeria and Ghana.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

This Compilation Shines a Light On East African Underground Music

We talk to a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation from Uganda's Nyege Nyege.