Shakeil Waithe’s Carifta javelin gold medal did not come by chance. It was a result of a two-year journey inspired by Keshorn Walcott’s Olympic gold medal in 2012. The Tobago athlete was one of six Trinidad and Tobago Carifta gold medalist who returned to Trinidad, yesterday, after competing in the 2014 Carifta Games, at the Stade Pierre Aliker in Fort de France, Martinique.
The T&T athletes were greeted with a welcome reception at Piarco International Airport VIP Lounge following a good showing at the Games at which they won six gold medals, seven silver, and 12 bronze as T&T finished second overall in the medal haul with a total of 25. Jamaica (42 gold, 34 silver, 12 bronze) and Barbados (five gold, five silver, six bronze) were first and third, respectively.
Waithe won the boys’ under-20 javelin with a 67.53m throw and although he said it was not his best performance, he was still pleased to have topped the field. “It feels good to go into a competition and win a gold medal for my country but I was not too pleased with my performance but I still thank the Lord for winning a gold medal,” he told the media yesterday.
Speaking about the influence of Walcott, Waithe said: “Before he (Walcott) won the (Olympic) gold medal, I was doing the javelin and it had a point in time I was going to give up on the javelin and do something else but when he won that gold medal, it kind of pushed me forward to work harder and make sacrifices that I did not want to make before. “I saw what a gold medal could do for the country,” he added.
Last year the 18-year-old from Mary’s Hill in Tobago made the necessary sacrifices, did the work with his coach Ismael Lopez Mastrapa and got the reward. “I was not really surprised by my performance. I just went out there to do my best. My coach kept on pushing me and trying to keep me relaxed. I kept thinking about what I wanted to do and forget what had gone before and that helped me.
“They (the T&T athletes) were supporting me all the way,” he added. He and the rest of the athletes also had the support hurdler Jehue Gordon who went with the team and supported from the sidelines.
President of the National Association of Athletic Administrations (NAAA) Ephraim Serrette praised the performance of the team describing it a “magnificent showing”.
“We had some exceptional performances, too many to mention. We had five more medals than we got last year and we look forward to analysing our performance from this championship and looking forward to CAC (Central American and Caribbean) Juniors and World Juniors later this year,” he added.