Nineteen-year-old Keshorn Walcott continues to create history for Trinidad and Tobago, advancing to the Olympic final of men's Javelin Throw with a herculean effort in his third and last attempt of the qualifying phase in London yesterday.
Needing a massive effort after registering throws below 80 metres, Walcott produced a huge 81.75 metres heave that sealed a historic spot in Saturday's final.
The Toco athlete finished tenth overall out of 44 competitors, bettering several more experienced and accomplished rivals including current world champion, Matthias de Zordo of Germany who failed to register a legal throw.
Czech Republic's Vitezslav Vesely is the undoubted favourite for the gold after a mammoth 88.34 metres personal best. Vesely is the current IAAF world number one and it would take a significant improvement from any athlete to keep him away from the gold.
Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway (84.47) and Finland's Tero Pitkamaki (83.01) have the next best two throws.
Competing out of Group “B” yesterday, Walcott failed to impress in his first two tries (78.91 metres and 76.44 metres) and was in danger of missing out on one of the 12 spots for the final.
But as he did last month to secure gold at the World Junior Championships in Spain, Walcott saved his best for last. His fans had missed his first two efforts due to the coverage of other events but for his last attempt, there was Toco's finest live on national television getting ready for history.
Unaware that his fans were finally getting to see him in action, the CAC Junior champion gave TT another finalist to cheer for with a powerful effort that was just shy of the automatic 82 metres distance but still over a metre short of his personal best of 82.83 metres.
Speaking with Newsday from London yesterday, an ecstatic Dexter Voisin, manager of the TT athletics Olympic contingent, hailed Walcott's achievement.
"It was a tremendous performance to go past that qualifying round. Javelin is mostly dominated by Europeans and it is not easy for a junior to come and do well. It's a great feeling for everyone and the coach and entire camp are very proud of him," Voisin remarked.
Voisin was also impressed with the way the TT athlete held his nerve under tremendous pressure on his final throw to come up with the goods.
"It shows that he is remaining focussed and listening to his coach," he said.
Yesterday, Walcott's cousin, Shaquille Roberts, who was in the spotlight recently for carrying the Olympic Torch on its way to the Olympic Stadium in London, expressed supreme confidence in his relative who he expects to give an even better showing in the final.
"I'm very excited because I think he would bring back a medal. I know he can do better than that," Roberts declared.
Councillor for the Toco area, Terry Rondon, who spearheaded the celebrations for Walcott after his gold medal in Spain at the World Juniors, was equally optimistic the teenager would place among the top three.
"God works in mysterious ways and we are all proud of him in Toco. Our prayers are with him and he is bringing gold to Toco. We are staying very positive and we know he will make us proud," he stated emphatically.
Meanwhile, former Soca Monarch, Bunji Garlin, congratulated Walcott via Twitter stating: "That boy is 19 years old (and) already a world junior champion and now an Olympics finalist."
Walcott's feat continued a remarkable effort from our local athletes who have reached an unprecedented seven finals while ace cyclist Njisane Phillip placed fourth in the Match Sprint and seventh in the Keirin.
Also yesterday, the American-based Wayne Davis crashed out of the men's 110 metres hurdles, finishing sixth in the semi-finals in 13.49 seconds. Davis got a decent start out of the blocks but fatally hit the first hurdle and never recovered.
By Stephon Nicholas