A Kenyan won the gold medal in javelin after learning how to throw on YouTube

Practice makes perfect.
Practice makes perfect.
Image: Reuters/David Gray
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Kenyan Julius Yego yesterday (Aug. 26) secured a gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing in javelin. His throw of 92.72m won the competition by four meters, and was not far away from the current world record of 98.48m, held by Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic.

What is remarkable is that Yego is almost entirely self-taught. He used YouTube videos as a guide. He cited watching videos of Zelezny and Norwegian Andreas Thorkildsen, both of whom won Olympic and world titles.

“My coach is me, and the YouTube videos,” Yego said. Why? ”Everybody in Kenya is a runner.” Which means that there aren’t that many coaches who can train those who are interested in less-heralded disciplines, such as the javelin. (Kenya is famous for producing great track athletes. In Beijing, the East African nation leads the medals table with six golds, three silvers, and two bronze.)

So Yego turned to the video-sharing site owned by Google for help. “I watched YouTube and it really paid off for me, to see the training techniques and skills they are using,” Yego told CNN in 2013. ”I do not have a coach, my motivation comes from within. Training without a coach is not an easy thing.” (He later worked with Finnish javelin coach Petteri Piironen.) Yego presumably learnt by using videos such as this:

Those sorts of videos aren’t rare on YouTube. For example, here is how to throw a discus:

Or if you want to know how to crossover a basketball:

How about learning to play pickle ball, which seems to be a mix between ping-pong and tennis:

Who knows, keep practising with these videos and one day you might ascend to the top of any of these sports—like Julius Yego.