RIO DE JANEIRO, An injured Julius Yego won the Olympic silver, significantly Kenya’s first ever medal in Javelin at the games, in his first and only attempt and could easily have won the gold had he been fit enough for another shot of the possible six throws on Saturday evening.
It was Yego’s seventh career medal since his first championship in 2010 at the African championships, where he won bronze, around the same time he had decided to focus on Javelin and improve on his throwing skills by going through videos of top competitions on You-Tube.
“I think people at home are celebrating its like a gold medal,” he said aware that Kenyan are revelling in his meteoric rise to the top of men’s Javelin after his fictional entry and gamble with the sport.
“To get a Kenyan in the Olympics on the podium it is not an easy thing, “said Yego, relieved after a very slow start to the season, thrilled with his silver medal, aware that Kenyans were keenly following his throws and the Olympic races, at that moment (3am Kenyan time).
Yego who had qualified sixth stepped forward and hurled his season best throw of 88.24m that sent him to the top of the seven throwers with Thomas Rohler in second, the German whose throw was measured at 87.07 after the opening round.
The world champion from last year faulted his second throw and felt the strain in his groin.
Yego opted to skip his third attempt to avoid aggravating the injury that he had initially felt in the qualifying round.
But even with Yego wheeled out for medical attention, his throw still had him at the top ahead of Rohler, fourth behind Yego in Beijing last year.
The defending Olympic champion Walcott Keshorn of Trinidad and Tobago was at the bronze position with his second round throw of 85.38.
Yego anxiously followed the happenings on the field as Rohler, 24, went atop the leader aboard with a 90.30m throw, that won him the gold .
The 27-year-old the only Kenyan qualified in the field events for Rio, managed to hang on for silver with the Trinidad and Tobago thrower taking bronze.
“Despite that fact that I didn’t finish the competition as I pulled my groin, the main thing is to be on the podium. I really felt very good during the warm up, maybe I could have thrown further than 88m,” added Yego the Commonwealth games champion, disappointed at his early retirement from the competition, as he had targeted to pass the 90m mark for his season best.
“When I made the second throw I felt something funny on my knee. My groin was tight. When I attempted to throw the third throw that’s when I felt it was so, so,” he expounded on his injury which will determine how the season ends, whether he will chase bigger throws in the diamond league in Lausanne and Zurich.
Yego’s personal best which is obviously also the Kenyan record stands at 92.72.