Olympic men’s javelin champion Keshorn Walcott was elated at copping several awards at the second annual Spirit of Sports Awards (Sosa) at Queen’s Halls, St Ann’s on Friday night.
The 19 year old copped the Break Through Athlete, Consistent Performer, Male Athlete of the Year and Sport Performer of the Year Honours at the Ministry of Sports hosted gala event.
The accolades are the latest tributes for the Toco born thrower who surprised the world in taking the men’s javelin gold at the London Olympics in August with a national record throw of 84.58m. In October the lanky athlete copped the Commonwealth Outstanding Youth Achiever award and in November the IAAF Male Rising Star Prize.
Speaking after the collecting his fourth and final award of the night, the Sport Performer of the Year, Walcott said he appreciated the recognition. “I really appreciate what I have accomplished. I am looking to the future. This year has been tremendous. I was looking forward to this awards ceremony and others. Competing in London and representing my country was a great experience. Not much was expected of me so what I accomplish was great knowing I was not under any pressure.”
Walcott, who also won the 2012 World Junior title in Barcelona, Spain in July, specially thanked his coach Ishmael Lopez for this success. “I thank God for everything, for life, my coach, my family, friends and my management team. I want to say special thanks to my coach for pushing me to do everything I have been doing over the years.”
Walcott added that he would like see more athletes from his home village of Toco do well. “Coming from Toco was a bit hard but with hard work everything is possible. I would like to see more success for other athletes from Toco. I would also like to say thanks (to the people of Toco)for the support.
The Toco Secondary graduate is now looking to ahead to next year’s IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Moscow, Russia from August 10-18 .
“Next year it is all about Russia. I will using the meets (in 2013) to prepare for Worlds.”
On hand to congratulate Walcott was another London gold medallist, men’s 400m champion, Kirani James of Grenada who was presented with the Caribbean Spirit of Sports Awards by Sports Minister Anil Roberts.
“(What Keshorn did was) great, especially in an event dominated by Europeans. It was one of the best performances of the Games. He did a great job keeping composed. He is a great person. What I admire about him is that he is simple and just goes about and do what he has to do and get the job done.”
James, who won the 2011 World 400m title as an 18 year old believes Walcott would do well in Moscow after his victory in London.
“The Olympic experience is the biggest ever and I think he handled that well so he could manage the World Champs. I think his coach and management team will know what to do.”
Walcott’s coach Cuban-born Ishmael Lopez was named Coach of the year. Lopez decided the award to his athletes.
Double Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon and national men’s 100m record holder Richard Thompson were named joint winners of the Comeback Performance.
London returned to track in 2009 after a break and sped to bronze in the men’s 400m finals in London in 44.52 while Thompson raced to silver in the men’s 100m finals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and anchored T&T’s men’s 4x100m team to silver.
Four years later Thompson returned to place seventh in the men’s 100m finals in 9.98 and again anchored the 4x100m team, this time to bronze. Gordon described his 2012 season as surprising. “2012 was awesome. It was a surprise to me and to many. My training is intense right now. I am trying to stay focused on the task ahead next year, stay healthy and repeat the triumph of this year.”