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Expert: Keshorn’s rewards will need support system
At only 19, Keshorn Walcott has risen to stardom by copping Trinidad and Tobago’s first gold medal in 36 years at the just-concluded 2012 London Olympics. Now that the elite javelin-thrower is back home, he has been showered with gifts from Government, including a $2.5 million house in Federation Park, Port-of-Spain, $1 million in cash and 20,000 square feet of land in Toco.
But what impact will it have on his career, and what message will this sent to upcoming athletes who are hoping to emulate his achievements? According to Kamu Laird, a clinical psychologist who specialises in sports therapy, the rewards could be a positive motivation for Walcott, who is aiming to repeat his feat at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and also for other young sportsmen and sportswomen.
However, Laird a former overseas footballer with Chester City, England, believes it is up to individuals to understand what the rewards really mean. In an interview yesterday, Laird said before showering an athlete with monetary gifts, the Government should first assess the athlete’s living conditions and access to sporting facilities. Looking at the situation from a psychological view, Laird said, although he did not know Walcott’s mentality, there could be negative effects on the average 19-year-old man if he received such rewards.
He said a major concern would be how to manage his new-found wealth. He added: “In terms of it being a motivation for other athletes to follow, I think it will be a positive.”
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