Drawing strength from Keshorn's win
TOCO-born Keshorn Walcott's stunning win in the Men's Javelin event at the 2012 Olympics has given the athletes in his hometown a shot in the arm that no store-bought energy booster can match.
When they train, they draw endurance and power from him, picturing the fantastic form and strength that earned Walcott the gold medal in London.
While it could not be said that any of them lacked for confidence, they now have their eyes on a prize that is within reach.
"Things happen for a reason," says 14-year-old Kernisha Serapio, daughter of Leroy Serapio, one of the sports coaches at Walcott's alma mater, Toco Secondary School.
"I will be 18 for the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. And that's what I'm aiming for now."
Serapio focuses on volleyball and track and field but feels her strength lies in track.
They always looked up to the 19-year-old Walcott, she said.
Now, the budding athletes of rural Toco are no longer afraid to believe, in themselves, or in a hero.
Leroy Serapio, whose brother, Nerril Serapio, was one of Walcott's coaches in earlier days, says if the Government builds it, Toco will win it.
"We have a factory here," Serapio said, sitting just outside the school's assembly hall last Friday, following the day's training sessions.
"We know we have athletes here of Olympic standard. There are many, many athletes here and who have come and gone in Toco, who had it in them. But the support systems are not there."
Here is where it is clear that an Olympic gold medal did not make Walcott extraordinary – he was already that.
Walcott has a determination without boundaries and never took his eye off the prize.
At Toco Secondary, formerly Toco Composite, the gymnasium is barely bigger than a classroom.
The lighting is inadequate and there are no fans or air conditioning. Several key machines don't work, including the treadmill.
Occupying a large part of the room is an aging freezer, for keeping ice. Athletes are given an ice-bath in a nearby plastic cooler (of the type used by fishermen), when they are recuperating.
"We work with what we have," Serapio said.
So did Walcott.
And when what he had wasn't enough, he would find the funds to make it to other districts, San Juan and Sangre Grande among them, to use the gyms available there.
The grounds of the school may appear sprawling and the playing field massive, but football and track and field training require more.
Serapio and other coaches in the area, among them Walcott's aunt, Anna-Lee Walcott, a former sprinter and national beach volleyball head coach David Thomas Jr, unashamedly hope the publicity will help.
"We have identified two to three more athletes who we feel have that Olympic potential," Serapio said.
"But the challenges we face are more than unusual. Do you know how much it costs to take our athletes out of Toco? Or the cost of food and board?"
While the infrastructure will take a few years – assuming Toco is given what it needs in a timely fashion – Serapio hopes the sponsorship and the provision of facilities will not be as difficult to source.
"We have been asking for these things for 20 years," Serapio said, "since I was a promising athlete."
"It is difficult to train on the existing field and the unevenness of the ground can encourage injuries.
"We also need proper jumping and throwing facilities. A gym with the latest equipment, the kind of equipment that is at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
"Jamaican athletes are not more talented than us. But they have the support systems.
"Here we have athletes who show promise – and also have to work to live while they train. They do not have the luxury of dedicating their time to training."
The expansion of the field and a gym upgrade can be done in the medium term, Serapio said, as can the provision of paid coaches who are also able to dedicate the right amount of time and energy to their athletes.
Whether they get the facilities or not, Serapio has promised that more Toco athletes will be on the scene and possibly in Rio in 2016.
Whilst all will draw strength from Walcott's win, Serapio wants Toco's athletes to maintain the easy-going demeanour that the javelin champ showed the world.
"We want our boys and girls to go in how Keshorn did, cool, calm, relaxed and normal," he said.