BACK IN TRAINING: Trinidad and Tobago's 2012 Olympic Games men's javelin champion, Keshorn Walcott trains at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, yesterday. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

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WORLD RECORD TARGET

Walcott believes he can better 98.48-metre mark

By Mark Pouchet mark.pouchet@trinidadexpress.com

Trinidad and Tobago's London Olympic gold medallist Keshorn Walcott says his goal for next year will be improving his technique so that he can perform at his best at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, in August.

He also believes that some time in the future the country's second Olympic gold medallist will break the world record for the men's javelin.

At his training base at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, yesterday, Walcott was in the second week of preparation for next year's competitions.

The 19-year-old Toco resident is in the general conditioning phase, and is not lifting weights but just doing body weight and coordination exercises.

"I just really started a week ago, so I am just taking things slow," Walcott told the Express. "Everything I am doing now in training will be leading up to the World Championships in Moscow. That's my main focus for next year."

The 2012 world junior champion shot to fame when he became only the second T&T athlete to earn an Olympic gold medal, 36 years after Hasely Crawford won T&T's first gold. Walcott produced a national record effort of 84.58 metres in the second round of the men's javelin competition to grab gold in London.

Walcott said he has his sights set on joining the 90-metre club.

"Yeah I believe that (I can throw over 90 metres). I believe someday I will be able to break the world record (98.48 metres), so I am gonna just keep on working. I am not going to say I will be breaking the 90 metres mark next year but I am just gonna keep taking things step by step."

Walcott said to achieve those feats, he will have to improve his technique. His Cuban coach, Ismael Lopez Mastrapa has identified his arm dropping a bit too low right before he throws and his stride becoming too large on his last two steps, which kills his momentum throwing the javelin. But Walcott will maintain his smooth, effortless run-up

"There are things I need to learn...so I am going to go back and keep on working because technique is important," he said.

Asked if he felt any pressure to match his London performance at every meet he attends, Walcott said: "Well, the pressure isn't on at the moment. I know I might feel some pressure coming later down in the season when competitions start, but I 'll have to manage that so I am just going to prepare myself mentally and physically."

Walcott said he believes that once he trains hard and follows his coach's routine rigidly, the performances will follow.

The Government bestowed many gifts on Walcott following his Olympic triumph, including a house at Federation Park valued at $2.5 million. But the tall thrower said he is keeping his life as normal as it was.

"(I am not moving). Not right now. I am comfortable right now and just taking things step by step," he said, having just come to training from his San Juan home base, which he shares with his manager Sean Roach.

Walcott said the immediate post-Olympic period, where he was showered with gifts and public adulation, was a bit stressful, but "I wouldn't say it was bad. It was good in a way because of how people reacted and all the congratulations I received and how I made the country proud. It was the beginning of my career so that was a huge step."

On his return from London, the country's top javelin thrower was feted at the Piarco International Airport, before a motorcade accompanied him to his Toco home. The teenager left the airport a multimillionaire, after the Prime Minister announced a bag of goodies, including $1 million cash to be managed by UTC; a house in Federation Park valued at $2.5 million; 20,000 square feet of land in Toco; a scholarship at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT); a Caribbean Airlines aircraft to be named after Keshorn Walcott; the Toco Lighthouse to be named the "Keshorn Walcott Toco Lighthouse"; and a Housing Development Corporation (HDC) project in Toco.

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