Olympic men’s javelin champion Keshorn Walcott will open his 2014 campaign at the International Twilight Games, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, tonight.
The meet starts at 4.30 p.m., and the men’s javelin is scheduled to begin at eight.
Also listed to compete in the javelin are Cuba’s Osmani Laffita, and Walcott’s training partner, newly-crowned Carifta Games boys’ Under-20 champion Shakeil Waithe.
At the 2013 Twilight Games, Walcott made an impressive start to the season, winning with an 84.39 metres effort--the second best throw of his career, behind the 84.58m golden hurl at the London Olympics. But Walcott struggled with an ankle injury for the remainder of the season, and was unable to repeat his 84-metre performance.
At a press conference at the Crawford Stadium, yesterday, Walcott said he has not set himself any big goals for 2014.
“I’m taking things step by step. First of all, tomorrow (today), just go out there and compete to the best of my ability...do things the way I think it should be done.
“This year things have been going pretty well. Coming off the injury last year my main focus was getting back healthy. Commonwealth is the most important Games for me this season. Like the Worlds, the Olympics, it’s a major meet. Everything’s going to be leading up to the Commonwealth Games, so I’m just taking things slow to see what I can do.”
Triple Olympic medallist Richard “Torpedo” Thompson is another of the headline acts at the International Twilight Games. He will face fellow-T&T sprinter Darrel Brown and Guyana’s Adam Harris in the men’s 100m dash.
Like Walcott, Thompson struggled with injury last season. But in his 2014 100m opener, in Louisiana, USA on April 19, Thompson clocked 10.16 seconds, an indicator that his hip is fully healed. He also competed in three 200m races in April.
“I would say it’s totally behind me now. I ran a couple 60 metres (races) indoors just to give myself the confidence I was past the injury. I felt like I was strong, but to actually get through some of the indoor races was proof to me and confirmation I was ready to run well outdoors.
“The 200s, more that the 10.16, give me the confidence, because a major part of my injury last year was being able to go around the bend with my hip. Being able to do three races and not feel any pain whatsoever confirms for me that I’m ready to go again.”
Thompson’s training partner, Zimbabwean Gabriel Mvumvure will do battle in today’s men’s 200m event. Mvumvure, who became a sub-10 100m sprinter last season, credited Thompson for his improvement.
“He pretty much took on a brotherly, mentor role. I wouldn’t be as fast as I am if it wasn’t for his help, just encouraging me to keep pushing. I consider myself blessed.”
In the women’s shot put, T&T’s Cleopatra Borel, who threw an impressive 19.10 metres in March, squares off against Cuban Yaniuvis Lopez.
“I’ve never felt this good in my life,” Borel said at the press conference.
“I want to keep going in that direction. Hopefully, I’ll keep progressing.”