COMMONWEALTH GAMES Men’s javelin silver medallist Keshorn Walcott blasted his critics at the VIP Lounge of the Piarco International Airport yesterday, as he along with a Trinidad and Tobago athletic contingent of approximately 50, returned home from national duty after a lengthy flight from Glasgow, Scotland.
Walcott, who grabbed one of this nation’s three silver medals at the just concluded Games, silenced pundits when he took the international podium once more, after launching the spear to a personal best distance of 85.32 metres in the semi-finals and then grabbing runner-up spot with a 82.67m haul.
The Toco-born athlete was responding to questions from the media based on his most recent achievement as compared to several challenging performances following his historic golden Olympic showing in 2012.
“There was not really any pressure, as I said before, people will talk and they don’t know what I’m doing behind the doors. I had a lot of problems and injuries so I’m just trying to get myself back to where I want to be,” said a relieved Walcott.
The robust athlete admitted that eventual Commonwealth javelin winner, Kenyan Julius Yego, was always going to be a tricky opponent, even though the pair know each other very well from past global tourneys.
“There athlete competition was good. The guy from Kenya, I know him from previous tournaments such as Olympics and World Championships. I knew he was my major competition and going in there I didn’t underestimate him. I guess the better guy won on the day,” he added.
Also touching down from a hectic and historic campaign at the Games was Men’s lightweight bronze medallist, Michael Alexander. The reserved young man still beamed with delight having bagged his first international boxing medal at his inaugural global meet. In his short address to the welcoming reception, Alexander heaped praises on coaches Reynold Cox and Floyd Trumpet for giving him the required artillery to attain a coveted podium spot. He was also the only athlete to medal outside of the athletics discipline. Both Walcott and Alexander also received celebratory plaques from the Ministry of Sport.
Also present yesterday were several members of the Men and Women’s national hockey teams and athletics camps, who all brought home great experience from the acclaimed competition. Additionally, male hockey players Akim Toussaint and Solomon Eccles were also presented with miniature trophies for attaining their 100th country appearance in the sport.
Other delegates attending yesterday’s function were freshly appointed Minister of Sport Dr Rupert Griffith, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis, National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) president Ephraim Serrette, special adviser to the Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Board Boxu Potts and various members of TT’s Commonwealth managerial staff.
In Griffith’s first ever address to the public as Minister of Sport, he showered praises on the returning outfit and admitted that their performances auger well for the future of national sporting development.
When asked if the medalling athletes would be rewarded from the Government, Dr Griffith stated that he has been in talks with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on this matter. He also indicated that the Prime Minster sent her regards to the contingent and that today would be his first full day in office as Sport Minister.
When asked as to what his agenda may look like today, he responded, “I have a lot of plans but won’t reveal them just yet. On my first full day (today), I will be talking with all the heads of the respective departments.
“I want to first get a feel of the Ministry as to where they are now. I want to look at the projects and where they’re going and see which direction we will go in, and put our priorities.”