Keshorn Walcott's family could not be more proud of his bronze medal win in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday night.
“He went out there and he did his best. His best wasn't the first place but we are extremely proud of him and he did well,” the javelin thrower's aunt, Anna-Lee Walcott-Stewart, told the Express yesterday.
“Everybody was expecting the gold and thinking that the last time he went with a slow start, he finished with gold. He was under a lot of pressure and he did extremely well,” she added.
Watch: Toco celebrates Keshorn's Bronze
Asked what she thought was a fitting reward for the Toco resident, Walcott-Stewart said it was not her place to say what her nephew should get.
When Walcott won gold for Trinidad and Tobago at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, he was gifted with a $2.67 million house in the upscale community of Federation Park as well as $1 million in cash.
Walcott's aunt: Don't come down on athletes
Chairman of the Toco/Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Terry Rondon has already indicated a stadium should be built in honour of the double Olympic medallist.
Walcott's mother could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Meanwhile, Walcott's aunt called for more support for the other athletes who competed at the Rio games.
She said she, too, was an athlete and understood the pressure athletes were put under.
“In Trinidad and Tobago, we don't understand the pressures that these children undergo. We don't know if they went in with injuries. We don't know how they got there, so we tend to come down on them and we don't give them an opportunity to prove themselves to us, and if we give them that opportunity they will blossom,” she said.
“We just need to give them a chance. This year might not have been their year. Look at Cleo (shot putter Cleopatra Borel), she went to the finals after such a long time, so she has improved. But we want more. Expectation is something we will never understand,” she added.
PM: This is not the end
Also heaping praises on Walcott yesterday was Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
“Keshorn and all the members of the Trinidad and Tobago 2016 Olympics Team deserve our congratulations and ongoing support for doing their best at the Rio Games, among a very strong field of international competitors,” Rowley said.
“While the team may have suffered mixed fortunes at the Rio Games, the nation can be justifiably proud of our athletes who were able to reach the finals in several events including the women's shot put, the women's 200 metre race, the women's 4x100 metre relay, the men's 4x100 metre relay. We must also remember that for the first time Trinidad and Tobago also competed in boxing, gymnastics and rowing. Swimming, sailing and cycling also continue to give us hope for medalling in future Olympic Games,” he pointed out.
He asserted Rio 2016 was not the end of Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic dream, but only the beginning.
“In four years' time, we will shine at Tokyo 2020. We have to start our preparations early and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago stands firmly behind all our athletes,” Rowley declared.
Immediately after his win, fellow Rio athletes took to twitter to congratulate Walcott.
“On the podium, forever golden to #TeamTTO—so proud! Congratulations,” Cleopatra Borel stated.
“Well done Keshorn, well done,” said sailor Andrew Lewis.
Four-time Olympic medallist and track and field analyst Ato Boldon was critical of this country's systems and organisation which he felt were failing local athletes.
“Streak remains intact, with Keshorn's bronze, but this must never happen again. Too many systems/organisations failing our athletes,” Boldon tweeted.