WINNING SPEAR: A shocked Keshorn Walcott is presented with the javelin he used to win Olympic gold at the London 2012 Games in August by Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Larry Romany, during the TTOC annual awards ceremony on Saturday night at the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain. —Photo: STEPHEN DOOBAY

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'REALLY SPECIAL'

Walcott touched by TTOC javelin gesture

By Mark Pouchet

Olympic gold medallist Keshorn Walcott, named the Junior Sportsman of the Year and the Sportsman of the year, was gifted with the javelin he used to achieve his history-making achievement in London back in August.

At Saturday evening's Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) 18th annual awards ceremony at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port of Spain, the 19-year-old Walcott added two further accolades to his four awards (Male Athlete of the Year, Sport Performance of the Year, Breakthrough Athlete of the Year and Consistent Performer of the Year) on the previous night at the Ministry of Sport Spirit of Sports Awards (SOSA).

But the most sentimental "award" was when outgoing TTOC president Larry Romany made the special presentation towards the end of the ceremony.

Romany and TTOC officials had tracked down the javelin after Walcott had made the request, and latched onto it before the start of the Paralympic Games.

Romany said Walcott's gold medal performance was a wish come true for him and TTOC officials, as he got to witness the national anthem being played on the Olympic stage.

"Keshorn (Walcott) has been given so many accolades since he came back with the gold medal. We can't give Keshorn (Walcott) $1 million or a house, but one of the things I thought is that we would  do something that would mean something to him as his win meant to us," Romany said before calling out TTOC vice president Annette Knott with the javelin that Romany then presented to the four-time Carifta champion.

"If he (Walcott) is the sportsman that I think he is, he will cherish this until he dies because this is worth more than any money or any amount of gold or anything in the world for him, and I hope really and truly that he appreciates it," Romany said.

Walcott, who expressed surprise and chuckled on viewing the javelin said, "I'd like to say this is a great pleasure to have received this. (I) Always wanted it but didn't know I would receive (it). It is the actually the only javelin I touched during the Olympics, I didn't use any other one, so it is really a touching moment for me I'd like to say from me to you thanks a lot," he said.

After the ceremony, Walcott said this year had been tremendous from beginning to end.

"It is really an honour and a great feeling of pride to know that I just received these awards, also the ones last night (Friday). Really special," Walcott related.

Walcott said he had not made any concrete New Year's resolution yet, but that he hoped to be healthy and alive in 2013 and take life step by step, focusing on peaking for World Championships in Russia in August.

Asked how his whirlwind year had changed his life, Walcott replied: " The biggest thing I have changed, and it may not be a big thing for most people but it is for me, is I tend to sleep a lot, but now I have been here and there all the time, there has been less time to rest. So I'll be catching up on that."

The Toco-born athlete fired himself into prominence this year after winning the javelin event at the World Junior Track and Field Championships in Spain, before following up with gold at the Olympic Games in London, England for this country's second ever gold medal at the quadrennial Games. He was also the youngest to win the event, and the first reigning World Junior champion to do so.

Walcott's Cuban-born coach Ismael Lopez Mastrapa was named the Sports Personality of the Year, an award his wife Michelle Stoute Lopez collected on his behalf, while fellow Olympian Kelly Ann Baptiste copped the Sportswoman of the Year.

Cyclist Jodi Goodridge walked away with the Junior Sportswoman of the Year accolade, and The Harvard Club collected the Alexander B Chapman award for outstanding contribution to Sport and Olympism.

The feature address was presented by TTOC president Larry Romany, who mentioned that he would be stepping down from the post next year at the end of his second and final four-year term.

Also attending the function were President George Maxwell Richards and his wife Jean Ramjohn-Richards, Minister of Education Tim Gopeesingh, Leader of the Opposition Dr Keith Rowley, this country's first Olympic gold medallist Hasely Crawford and former long-serving TTOC president Alex B Chapman.

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