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Keshorn Walcott chases elusive World Champs medal
Double Olympic-medallist javelin star Keshorn Walcott. - AP PHOTO

Keshorn Walcott chases elusive World Champs medal

Go Back : Newsday : Jonathan Ramnanansingh : 28.06.2022

Two-time Olympic men's javelin medallist Keshorn Walcott is injury-free and on the hunt for an elusive World Athletics Championships medal.

Walcott, 29, is preparing for the upcoming tourney, which gets under way in Eugene, Oregon, USA from July 15-24, and will again feature at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England from July 28 to August 8.

He's had a successful season thus far, kicking off 2022 with a gold medal at the Yellow Jacket Invitational in Atlanta, Georgia, and then following up with four medals (three silvers and one bronze) on the European circuit.

His most recent accomplishment came on Saturday, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, where he retained his national men's javelin title with an 85.17 metres effort.

Walcott's furthest distance for the year, 89.07m, was achieved at the FBK Games in Netherlands, three weeks ago.

He expressed pleasure with his string of recent performances, and although he remains in pursuit of a World Champs medal, maintaining full fitness and good health continues to be his main goal for the rest of the season.

"2022 has been good. I want more but I'm very happy with the progression so far of the season. The most important thing for me is health. I'm really happy to be healthy this year and not having to worry about how I would finish a competition.

"The circuit has been good. The consistency is there. I know I just need to be patient and something will happen. I'm finishing competitions well and I'm able to move on from it without having to think about anything else. That's one of the most important things," he said.

At the Tokyo Olympics last year, a niggling ankle injury proved detrimental at the Games. Walcott won javelin gold at the 2012 edition in England, threw to bronze in Brazil four years later, but was unable to repeat the feat in Japan, and finished seventh owing to the injury.

In the lead-up to Tokyo, Walcott showed good promise, somewhat similar to his current form ahead of this year's World Champs. However, he does not want a repeat of his Olympic efforts.

Walcott has won medals at all major international meets, except World Championships. This will be his fifth attempt at securing precious medal on this stage having placed 19th (Russia 2013), 26th (China 2015), seventh (UK 2017) and 11th (Qatar 2019) at previous editions.

He did however, win gold at the World Junior Championships in Spain in 2012, mere weeks before his historic Olympic gold showing at the London Games.

What's different now as compared to last year, is that is he is 100 per cent healthy and raring to go.

"The only difference is I'm healthy and intend to stay healthy; that's the main objective. You can't have good performances without good health. Last year's Olympics were out of my control. Things happen in a certain way but you always have to just move on.

"A medal at Worlds is on our (he and coach Ismael Lopez Mastrapa) list. I have gotten every other medal besides this one. In the past I've put a lot of pressure on myself, in terms of medalling and not being able to gain a medal.

"It's been a couple (world champs) and we haven't really gotten the result we wanted before...but as my coach always says, 'nothing before its time'. If it's to happen this year, it will. If not, we'll move on, because there's always another one next year," he added.

Walcott affirmed as with all athletics meets, the expectation is to earn a podium spot. He believes such results will only come once his mind and body are in the right places, combined with flawless technical execution.

He continued, "We're focusing on executing some good throws, staying relaxed as possible and taking the mind away from the actual competition and just letting it happen. But the objective is the same; medals.

"The month of May and June is where you put in the work. Once you come out of those two months in a good position, it carries until to the end of the season."

TT's World Athletics Championships team has not yet been finalised by the National Association of Athletics Administrations as both local and foreign-based athletes use the remaining days to guarantee qualification.

The team, when appointed, is tentatively scheduled to leave for Oregon on July 12.

Walcott does not have any confirmed plans to compete prior to the world meet but he and Mastrapa will use the coming weeks to assess and evaluate his progress.

"We're on this side of the world right now so most likely we'd just be training until World Championships. One of my friends invited me to a competition on July 9 in the US but I'm not sure to participate there yet.

"Based on the next two weeks, how training goes, and if my coach and I see it necessary, then we may think about it, but if not, no," he closed.