Julius Yego, or Mr. YouTube, the 2015 World Javelin Champion and 2016 Olympic silver medalist will be a board member of the newly formed The Athletics Association (TAA).
TAA is a new group of athletes coming together to advocate for their rights. Yego, the most successful African Javelin thrower ever, spoke to Enda on being part of the initiative dubbed #WeAreTheSport.
Julius Yego chatting with fellow athletes at the trails for Doha World Championships
Enda: Congratulations Yego, how do you feel being a board member of Athletics Association?
Yego: It's a privilege and of course comes with a huge task ahead but am ready for it. It's never easy to represent a whole continent but I am very much happy and humbled by the noble gesture from my fellows in the board to be elected by them. I only can say thank you to our President Christian Tailor and the whole team.
Enda: What is the role of The Athletics Association?
Yego: Basically the main objective is to be the voice for athletes on matters that affect us as athletes since we felt that our voices haven't been listened to or given little attention. For instance last year when the Wanda Diamond league schedule came out, many events were scraped off meaning many athletes in the events that aren't any more there can't benefit or showcase their talents like before. On this World athletics didn't consult the athletes of the impending changes prior to releasing the schedule, and when this came we voiced our concerns but nothing was done. TAA will also seek to be part of the decision making process on matters affecting athletes directly or indirectly like even the competitions just to mention a few.
Enda: What are some of the issues Track and field athletes face especially in Kenya, Africa?
Yego: In Kenya we have many issues, I said earlier events like 3000m steeplechase and 5000m aren't in the Diamond League circuit, it will be hard for our athletes to achieve the standards for major championships like world champs and Olympics. As TAA we will raise our concerns directly to world athletics to rethink this. Also, matters management can’t go unquestioned in Africa, we need athletes be listened to. Many times in Africa you see that athletes are left on their own and federations don't want to give an ear to their cries, so we want to be part of this so as to help our fellow athletes. And even in matters of finances we are looked down upon in Africa.
Enda: Why is it important for T & F athletes to have their own association?
Yego: This is the only way that our voices can be heard. It is better we approach our federations or World Athletics as a group or an association rather than as individuals, we will have a big chance of our issues being given attention. Our World athletics President when he came into office said “world athletics is much more about the athlete interest,” but is that practical now? I doubt. So in TAA we have a noble chance of forwarding and passing this to them and even have a chance of giving them the way forward if need be.