‘Keshie loves his javelin’
By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, August 11 2013
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A visitor reads about the history of The Toco Lighthouse on Thursday. The lighthouse is to be named after Olympic javelin champion Keshorn Walcott....
Beverly Walcott’s prayers and thoughts are in Moscow, Russia.
It’s not her favourite country, she’s never even been there. But, it’s the place where the world’s top athletes have gathered to participate at the 14th IAAF World Indoor Championships. The eight-day event, which began yesterday, ends on August 18.
Her son, Keshorn Walcott, the reigning Olympic Men’s Javelin champion and Trinidad and Tobago’s second gold medallist, is expected to be a standout at the championships, which, today, coincide with the one-year anniversary of the athlete’s historic feat.
Keshorn’s winning javelin throw of 84.58 metres, brought fame and glory to TT at the Olympic Games in London, last August.
But his mother, who remembered the anniversary of her son’s accomplishment, said on Thursday that although she had fond memories of London, her attention was now trained on Russia, where Keshorn is expected to begin his campaign for gold tomorrow.
“I am keeping my fingers crossed,” an excited Walcott said in an interview at her humble home in Trois Roche village, Toco.
“Whatever happens, I know he will do his best. Keshie loves his javelin.”
Walcott said the family had no special plans to commemorate the anniversary in her community but simply hoped her son delivered a good showing in Russia.
She expressed some concern, though, about the ankle injury the 20-year-old had sustained some time ago.
“There might be injuries but I am hoping for great things,” she said.
Keshorn, who missed the National Championships at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of- Spain, in June, due to an ankle injury, is the lone male field athlete on the team at the World Championships.
It’s been a hectic year for the former Toco Secondary School student, who, apart from securing a place in TT’s history books, also brought to the fore, the potential of Caribbean athletes to excel in the javelin, a sport that had previously been dominated by Europeans.
Following his victory, Keshorn was the star attraction at many public events. Not much of a talker, he was still sought for speaking engagements, mainly to inspire young people desirous of pursuing sport.
The athlete also appeared in newspaper and television advertisements and on billboards, throwing his small, north-east coast community into the national spotlight.
Throughout the busy period, Walcott said her son did not neglect his training sessions.
“Keshie don’t like to miss training at all,” Walcott said, adding that she speaks to her son as often as she can.
“A lot of the time he also calls.”
Keshorn, she said, also visited her for Christmas and New Year’s.
“We talked a lot and you know I had to pack a bag with everything in it for him to take back,” she said with a laugh.
At the Toco Secondary School, Keshorn’s uncle-in-law Peter Stewart, remembered the anniversary of his historic throw, but, like Walcott, was focussed only on the Games in Russia.
“He has moved from the Olympics and now he is in the World Championships and we have the same expectations of him but regardless of where he places, we are going to give him our fullest support,” Stewart said.
Keshorn holds a special place in Stewart’s heart. He remembers when Keshorn first developed an interest in the javelin as a Form Three student at the school and how, with raw talent, and only a few years later, he is now dominating the sport.
“Many people did not even know about Keshorn but he is really the first athlete to really excel at that level in field events in this country. He progressed very rapidly from juniors to winning every major event,” he said with pride.
Stewart also recalled the days when Keshorn did not benefit from the physical input of a coach during his training sessions.
“The coach just used to send the programme and he would do his thing. But it was not the same as having a coach there,” he said, adding that Keshorn was disciplined and diligent.
He showed Sunday Newsday a large plaque in the school’s auditorium which chronicled Keshorn’s journey in the field, dating back to his victories in the Carifta Games.
“We had revealed the plaque to Keshorn during our normal sports meeting in February,” Motilal said.
While retired school’s supervisor Marcus Joseph is still elated by Keshorn’s accomplishment, he lamented that the athlete had not interacted much with the young people and others in the region during his reign.
“We hope that he can become more involved as time goes by. The youth has to see him,” Joseph, a deacon at the Anglican Church, told Sunday Newsday.
Joseph also lamented that many of the promises the People’s Partnership Government had made to Keshorn following his return to TT from the Olympic Games, last year, were yet to materialise.
Still, Joseph is hopeful that the javelin thrower will continue to excel in the field.
“He is one of us and we feel he is going well,” he said.
Former Toco/Fishing Pond councillor Martin Terry Rondon said he was heartened by Keshorn’s determination and commitment to the sport.
However, he bemoaned the fact that the area still did not have proper sporting facilities for budding athletes.
“I am concerned about that, not only for Keshorn but the other athletes coming up. There are no facilities for them,” Rondon complained.