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Keshorn woos fans
Olympic gold medallist Keshorn Walcott created history on Saturday, becoming the country’s only Olympian to develop a commercial apparel brand.
Walcott launched his four lines of T-shirts at The Fan Club, Trincity Mall, in the presence of Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Darryl Smith, T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis, his manager Sean Roach and scores of fans.
The country’s second Olympic gold medallist expressed relief that brand was finally on the market after so much time on the drawing board.
The major challenge in advancing the project, said Walcott, was settling on the design to garner widespread public appeal.
Eventually, he explained, the decision was taken to use his logo and include the T&T wording, which would ensure not only his brand would be in focus, but the people of this country, too.
“I think we hit it on the head. We did a few first—white and red —to start off and hopefully we will soon launch a lot more colours,” he said.
Asked if he was feeling the energy of the populace, Walcott replied, “I’m always feeling the energy when it comes to the people, whether it be live or whether it be on social network. It’s always good to know people are supporting you and this year, leading up to the Olympics, it’s good to know that in a few days you can post something on social media and so many people come out to support. It’s good to know that the people (are) not just supporting me, but the entire T&T athletics system.”
Over the past few weeks, calls have been made for athletes to become creative in finding ways to raise their own funds to prepare for competition.
Walcott said while this may be one of the reasons for launching his own line of T-shirts, he was conscious of the fact that it was also a means of connecting with the fans. “The fans are out there, looking for ways to connect with the athletes and I am sure that having something that has an athlete’s brand attached, will be something that they would feel happy to have.”
Walcott spent the afternoon at The Fan Club, meeting and greeting fans as well as posing for photographs and signing autographs with his fans.
One fan, Adinah Welsh said she left Matelot to be part of the occasion.
“I was at the airport when Keshorn came back from London with his gold medal. He is such a simple young man, easy to talk to and very charming. I bought one of each of his four lines of T-shirts. We all need to support people like Keshorn, who are not depending on anybody but wants to do it himself. Every Trini should purchase at least one. And the price is just right.”
In his address, Sean Roach, who is Walcott’s manager, noted that fans have been calling for local athletes to start marketing and branding themselves. “The fans want to connect with the athletes and be part of what they do. This is Kehsorn’s response. They can now have a piece of him,” he noted.
Minister Smith described the move as the right way to go, noting that the days of waiting for government and corporate T&T to fund an athlete were becoming increasingly difficult, given the economy. “I applaud Keshorn and his team on this initiative. It shows why they are winners and why they are leaders. Every citizen should ensure that they purchase one of these shirts, not only because it’s a wonder souvenir, but also because it will assist Keshorn in his pursuit of another medal for T&T.”
Olympic president Brian Lewis, whose TTOC pioneered the move to have local branded merchandise on sale, was especially proud of the Walcott team and their initiative. “This is a big move and one which all athletes should be aiming to make.
“The days of going cap in hand and begging for help are over. Athletes have to start thinking big and this is big,” noted Lewis.
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The Fan Club
MovieTowne, PoS 290-1846
Gulf City Mall 290 -1840
Trincity Mall 289 -0378
Aboutique Mall 298- 5750