Cubans back TT’s javelin finalist
By STEPHON NICHOLAS Saturday, August 11 2012
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Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott will be hoping to create further history today when he competes in the Olympic men’s javelin final which gets underway at 2.20 pm at the Olympic Stadium, London, England.
Already the first person from this country to reach a javelin final, Walcott is surely not content with that and will be keen on taking home a medal in his first appearance at the Olympics.
The 19-year-old has been receiving tremendous support, not only from TT, but from other Caribbean countries, among them Cuba, following his powerful 81.75-metre throw that hurled him into today’s final but will have his work cut out against a very experienced field.
Czech Republic’s Yitezslav Vesely was the most impressive in the qualifying rounds on Wednesday, justifying his number one IAAF ranking with a mammoth 88.34-metre throw that was almost four metres more than his nearest rival.
In Walcott’s humble village of Trois Rouche in Toco, the anticipation is boiling over with his friends, family and fans all eager to see him bring home a medal.
The Sangre Grande Regional Corporation has also arranged for big screens to be set up at several venues in Toco today for the community to gather and cheer their hometown hero.
Speaking to Newsday yesterday, John Andalcio, coach of Toco TAFAC and the man responsible for helping Walcott hone his craft, expressed great pride and joy in what his former student has been able to achieve.
The current World Junior champion, who began taking javelin seriously at around 16 years old, spent three years under Andalcio’s tutelage before Cuban coach Ismael Lopez Mastrapa took over.
Andalcio was hesitant to predict a medal for the teenager but believes he will improve on his personal best of 82.83 metres in the final.
“I am extremely proud of him. He’s a guy who is strongly motivated and has already achieved everything he has set out to do this year (CAC Junior and World Junior gold medals) so he will be throwing with a free mind. He doesn’t have that pressure on him anymore,” he explained.
Commenting on Walcott’s performance in the qualifying round, Andalcio believes nerves played a part in the young athlete’s first two throws which were below 80 metres before getting it together on his final attempt.
“When I went to Beijing (for the Olympics) in 2008, I came back with video footage of the javelin event. In the prelims on Wednesday he was a little overawed by competing against some of the guys he’s been accustomed seeing but he is in the final and does not have that ‘jumbie’ over him anymore,” he continued.
Andalcio explained from the very first time he saw Walcott, he realised he was going to be something special.
“We love javelin throw in this area and one day we just said, ‘Keshy come and take a throw’, and he threw over 50 metres in the first time he ever threw a javelin,” he revealed.
Tributes and words of encouragement continued to pour in on Walcott’s facebook page with even his peers congratulating him.
Cuban javelin thrower, Victor Orozco, hailed Walcott as the man to look forward to in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and is also not ruling out a surprise today.
He posted, “Awesome man, you are the future of javelin! Bring it on in the finals, you can do it.”