Keshorn Walcott chases elusive World Champs medal

Double Olympic-medallist javelin star Keshorn Walcott. - AP PHOTO
Double Olympic-medallist javelin star Keshorn Walcott. - AP PHOTO

TWO-TIME Olympic men’s javelin medallist Keshorn Walcott is fixated on capturing his first IAAF World Athletics Championships podium finish.

He will feature, for the sixth time, at the August 19-27 tourney in Budapest, Hungary, and remains in hot pursuit of the elusive medal.

Despite launching to gold at the just concluded Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in El Salvador on Friday, and notching several podium performances on the European circuit this year, Walcott remains in the hunt for precious Worlds honours.

He’s had mixed results at the past five editions, with his best showing coming in 2017, seventh.

“I don’t know why it’s been eluding me. Maybe I want it too much. But it’s still my main objective and it’s all that I think about now in the sport, getting a Worlds medal.

“I’m still working towards it and I think once things go as planned, we should have a good chance this year,” he said. Over the past few months, Walcott has been working alongside longtime coach Ismael Lopez Mastrapa, Canadian-based chiropractor Dr Alban Merepeza and US-based sport and exercise psychologist Dr Margaret Ottley to improve his physical and mental strengths.

For this year, Walcott spent one month in Portugal for a throws camp and approximately six weeks in Canada doing similar training, while working with Merepeza to ensure he’s at his best physically.

His best distance for 2023, so far, was an 85.85m attempt achieved in a silver medal showing at the Kuortane Games in Finland, three weeks ago. But Walcott wants more and believes he needs to add a couple metres to that result if he is to seal precious Worlds metal.

“I think I’ve been a lot smarter in my throwing. From the get-go this year, our only intention is to perform well at Worlds. Everything is directed and leading to that. I know exactly what I need to do.

“I’ve thrown 85m this year but I know I need to add two to three metres more for Worlds. With the amount of high-level training, hopefully, when my body comes down I can be able to move faster, better and hopefully, the distances will come.” Walcott is already in Trinidad after his CAC stint and is considering participating in the Monaco leg of the IAAF Diamond League (July 21) before he competes at the National Track and Field Championships (July 27).

He thinks Nationals “should be a good test” of his training over the next three weeks here. Before Worlds, Walcott is intent on featuring at two other events, yet to be confirmed.

“I’m trying my same method I did in 2017 when I placed my best, in London. I competed right up to the Worlds, instead of taking time off. I’m going to try to do the same. It doesn’t matter the standard of the competition, it’s just to have competition.” Walcott’s personal best is a hefty 90.16m, achieved in 2015. However, he’s never hit the 90-mark since. But, he continues to push.

“My consistency has been good this season but for me, it’s been an average season so far, to be honest. Not the best of performances. But I am ok with that because I’ve decided to try something different this year for my Worlds preparation. I am still loading now, with high training. “Our plan is to come down as the CAC Games are over since we have about six weeks before Worlds to see how best to plan our work. But for the majority of the season so far, I’m happy with it. The most important thing is that I’m performing consistently so it’s ok. Now it’s just to try to implement the plan and hopefully it pays off.”

Fast forward to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France, Walcott hinted that it may be his final stint at the Summer Games. However, he believes he’s in good shape and did not confirm or deny that next year’s edition would be his last.

“I think based on how 2002 went and how this year is going, I think I should be in pretty good shape for Paris. My confidence is good but at the end of the day, one step at a time, so I’m focusing on this year first. “Most likely (my last Olympics). It may be but I must say my body is in a good place right now, in terms of having the right people around and the experience I have. Being able to stay as healthy as possible, but you never know.”

Walcott credited his team of Mastrapa, Alban and Ottley for their dedication to his athletic growth.

He also highlighted the efforts of the TT Olympic Committee, which he says, plays a crucial role in ensuring he attends camps and stays healthy. “My mindset is really good because that is something I’ve worked on a lot this season, thanks to Dr Ottley. She’s the reason I’m in a good mental place right now.

“Everything is about planning and our objective has always been physical and mental planning. We have been planning towards Worlds so all the other competitions are just stepping stones.

“TTOC has been a great help so far for the season, helping me with camps and being able to go to Canada.” After his CAC performance, Walcott is now taking a couple of days off before he resumes training ahead of Nationals.


"Keshorn Walcott chases elusive World Champs medal"

More in this section