Keshorn Walcott is just 19, but he's already Trinidad and Tobago's most successful male field athlete in Olympic Games history.

The world junior champion added another important entry to his resume yesterday—Olympic finalist.

Walcott produced a huge 81.75-metre throw in the third and final round of the men's javelin Group B qualifying competition at the Olympic Stadium here in London, England.

The effort was just short of the 82m automatic qualifying distance but good enough for sixth spot in Group B and tenth overall. The top 12 throwers will do battle in Saturday's final.

Walcott told the Express he had to talk himself into the right frame of mind, ahead of his third throw.

"I said, 'Look, I'm going to relax; hopefully, don't foul, and put everything into it.' And I got it.

"I'm feeling great," he continued. "I went out there, didn't throw my best, but I still got into the final."

The Toco field athlete's personal best (pb) is 82.83m—the Pan American junior record as well as the national senior record.

"Hopefully, I'll get my pb in the final."

Walcott opened yesterday's competition with a 78.91m throw, and followed up with 76.44m in the second round. He was visibly upset with what he was producing on his Olympic debut and admitted afterwards he was intimidated by his big-name rivals.

"Honestly, I was a bit frightened. Going into the competition, seeing those guys, I was frightened. But I knew not everyone would have a good day, so I just went out there and did what I had to do. I held my nerve, got a big throw, and things worked out for the better."

There were some anxious moments, however. Ninth after his 81.75m throw in the final round, Walcott slipped to tenth after Julius Yego landed the javelin 81.81m—a new Kenya national record.

Walcott looked on nervously at the rest of the competition. Among the throwers who could nudge him down the standings, and ultimately out of the top 12, was reigning world champion Matthias De Zordo. The German had fouled his first two attempts.

"You saw me standing there," said Walcott, "looking at them. But I knew that just how I was feeling, they were feeling—with pressure on the last throw".

Unlike Walcott, De Zordo was unable to produce the big one on his last attempt and had to bid farewell to London 2012.

Walcott said he thoroughly enjoyed the electric atmosphere of Olympic competition.

"For me, it was great. It didn't pull me down. It gave me a boost, knowing that there were a lot of people to throw in front of."

Walcott is T&T's first-ever Olympic Games male field event finalist and the country's third overall. At the 2004 Athens Games, Candice Scott finished ninth in the women's hammer throw and Cleopatra Borel copped tenth spot in the women's shot put.

Walcott wants to raise the bar in Saturday's final.

"Hopefully, get into the last eight."

By Kwame Laurence


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


Semoy Hackett is very satisfied with her performances at the Olympic Games here in London, England.

Yesterday, the 23-year-old sprinter finished eighth in the women's 200 metres final, at the Olympic Stadium, the result making her the second most successful female Trinidad and Tobago athlete in Olympic history. Kelly-Ann Baptiste is in the number one position, thanks to her sixth-place finish in Saturday's 100m final.

In the half-lap championship race, Hackett got to the line in 22.87 seconds. The race was won by American Allyson Felix in 21.88, while silver went to 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the Jamaican getting home in 22.09. Felix's teammate, Carmelita Jeter clocked 22.14 to secure bronze.

"I feel good," Hackett told the Express, after the final. "This is my stronger event, and I was determined to medal, but the field was tough."

Coming off the turn, Hackett trailed her rivals, and was unable to get herself back in contention for a podium finish.

"My coach told me to run 60 metres hard, relax, and then go again for the last 80, but by that time..."

In Tuesday's 200m semis, Hackett finished third in her heat in 22.55 seconds. The clocking equalled her own national record, and she advanced to the final as a "fastest loser". And in the opening round of the 100m, last Friday, Hackett clocked a personal best 11.04 seconds, to finish second in her heat. She bowed out in the semis.

"I'm very satisfied. Now, I have to regroup for the relay. All the girls want to win."

Michelle-Lee Ahye, Baptiste, Kai Selvon and Hackett will be in action at 3.20 this afternoon (T&T time) in heat one in the women's 4x100m qualifying round. The T&T quartet will run in lane four, next to Nigeria (three) and Japan (five). United States have been drawn in lane two.

Wayne Davis II bowed out of the men's 110m hurdles in yesterday's semifinal round, the America-born T&T athlete finishing sixth in heat one in 13.49 seconds.

"Out of the blocks it was great," Davis told the Express, "but I hit the first hurdle really really hard with my lead leg on my way up, so there was no way to recover from that. All I had to do was push, and from there the whole race was a disaster pretty much."

Back in 2007, Davis, running for the United States, was crowned world youth (under-18) champion in the sprint hurdles. He has Trinidadian parents, and later decided to compete for T&T.

London 2012 was Davis's first time representing the Red, White and Black. He said he enjoyed being part of the T&T team.

"Trinidadians, they're real fun people—never a dull moment. They accepted me as part of them, so I never had any problems."

However, Davis was not pleased with his efforts on the track. In the opening round, the 20-year-old was fourth in heat two in 13.52 seconds, progressing to the semis as a "fastest loser".

"It was a good experience. Not what I wanted, not at all. But it's a learning experience, and next year I'll come back, recuperate and see what I could do. But overall, I've had a lot of fun, and it's definitely something I would love to do again.

"What I have to do," he continued, "is take every learning experience and put them together. Once I do that, I can run those fast times that I've been looking for. I know I have really fast times in me. I just have to not make mistakes during the race."

Davis said he will be ready to challenge the best sprint hurdlers on the planet at the 2013 World Championships, in Moscow, Russia.

"I have a lot of time to get stronger, and I'll be a little bit older."

Davis also has a vision for the 2016 Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"The gold. Going for the gold."

T&T's men's 400m bronze medallist, Lalonde Gordon, will be at the Olympic Stadium today for the qualifying round of the men's 4x400m relay.

Gordon will team up with Deon Lendore, Jarrin Solomon and Ade Alleyne-Forte in heat one, scheduled for 6.35 a.m. (T&T time). T&T will do battle with Great Britain, Belgium, South Africa, Cuba, Kenya, Germany and Poland. The top three teams will advance automatically to tomorrow's final.

By Kwame Laurence


Keshorn Walcott left it for late, but qualified for the Men’s Javelin final at the Olympic Games, with his last toss of 81.75 metres in the qualification round at the Olympic Stadium, yesterday in London, England. The debutant kept his nerves despite not getting the start desired and placed 10th in the competition which saw 44 throwers battling for a spot in the final scheduled for Saturday from 2.20 pm. In his first attempt, the world junior champion reached 78.91. He followed that up with an unimpressive 76.44.  “I didn’t do what I came out to do. The distance wasn’t my best, hopefully when it comes back to the final I will get a better throw,” said, the soft-spoken Walcott. He admitted that the entire Olympic experience may have distracted him somewhat, diverting him away from his strategy for the opening round.  “I was a bit anxious and a bit nervous so I was just a little off, but things worked out for the better, so I will come back and hopefully do better.
Now that he has got past one hurdle, he feels more comfortable and is set for a much improved showing the medal round. “The qualification is always the hardest part. In the final I will just be at ease because I’ve already accomplished what I wanted to do. “I’ve come in here with nothing to lose, everything to gain.” Walcott will definitely have some work to do over the next two days as he will go up against the likes of Czech Republic Vitezslav, who qualified on top, with a personal best throw of 88.34 followed by Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen (84.47) and Tero Pitkamaki (83-01). Walcotts best throw this season is 82.83, also his personal best. Sprinter Semoy Hackett placed eighth in the women’s 200m final event. Hackett finished in 22.87 seconds, a slower time compared to her run the previous night when she equalled her own national record time of 22.55. As in the night before, Hackett seemed to be in some discomfort after the race. She will have to bounce back quickly though as the 4x100 heats come off today from 3.20 pm (T&T time).
American Allyson Felix, runner-up in Athens and Beijing to Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown, finally got the gold medal, overcoming a sluggish start to lead, coming off the bend and complete a relatively easy win. The 26-year-old clocked a time of 21.88 to finish 0.21 ahead of 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. USA's Carmelita  Jeter - silver medallist over 100m - took bronze, with Campbell-Brown fourth and failing in her bid to become the first woman to win a track event for three Olympics in succession. Wayne Davis bowed out in the semifinal round of the Men’s 110m heat after placing sixth in a time of 13.49. Davis remained upbeat despite not progressing, accepting his first Olympics as a learning experience. “It didn’t go as I would have liked. I hit the first hurdle and from there it killed my momentum. I had to go back to scratch. My start was amazing. I was in front of everybody. “Next time what I need to do, is harness that, cut down a little bit more and once I do, it will keep me in the lead in the race,” said Davis. “So that’s something I will be working on next year.”
Davis added that he enjoyed his debut, noting the it was a great opportunity racing against athletes whom he’d watched on film for a number of years. “It’s an eye-opener and I finally saw myself as one of these top guys. This is the biggest stage I could be on and I was like wow, I’m actually here.” This is the end of his season and the 20-year-old is already making plans for the future, recognising that he has work to do if he is to compete at the next Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil in 2016. “I am going to regroup, go back to basic training and get ready for Rio,” shared Davis. Later, American Aries Merritt took gold in the final, running a personal best of 12.92. The final favourite, Jason Richardson, another US athlete, finished with the silver medal in 13.04, and Jamaican Hansle Parchment bagged the bronze with a new national record of 13.12.
By Rachael Thompson-King

Fear not T&T, Olympic bronze-medallist Lalonde Gordon has given his assurance that T&T 4x400m relay team can prosper, even in the absence of quartermiler Renny Quow. Quow’s Olympic experience came to a premature end, without him even stepping on the track here in London, England. He left on Monday for the United States to tend to a hamstring injury which has been troubling him for some time now. Annette Knott, chef de mission yesterday confirmed that the 400 metres specialist will not take part in the 30th Olympiad. “We didn’t want to chance him getting further injuries so he went back to the US to do therapy on the injured harmstring,” she said. Today, the men’s relay team, which will consist of a combination of Gordon, Ade Alleyne-Forte, Jarrin Solomon, Deon Lendore and Machel Cedenio, will look to dominate at the Olympic Stadium, competing in the first of two heats at 6.35 am T&T time. “We have a good chance of medaling although we don’t have Quow,” said Gordon. “All the guys should go under 45 so we have a good chance.”
His message to T&T: “Just keep believing in us and we will do a good job.” Tobago-born Quow is the second local athlete, forced out the Games due to injury. Coincidentally another Tobago-bred Josanne Lucas also made an early exit, a week before the start of the Games, a recurring knee injury the reason. It was a disappointment for T&T when Quow did not start in the Men’s 400m but Gordon mended that heartache by taking third place in 44.52 seconds in a final dominated by Caribbean athletes. Grenadian 19-year-old Kirani James won gold in 43.94 and Luguelin Santos, 18, of Dominican Republic was second in 44.46. Gordon enjoyed the historic moment on Tuesday night being the second T&T athlete to have the national flag lifted over that distance during the medal ceremony.  The first was Wendell Mottley, who copped a silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Games in Japan. However, Ian Morris still holds the national record of 44.21, achieved in the semifinals of the 1992 Olympics
The T&T unit will race against teams from Great Britain, Cuba, South Africa, Kenya, Belgium, Poland and Germany, aiming to qualify for the final set for tomorrow at 4.20 pm (T&T time).
Solomon is not intimidated by these opponents and was in a positive mood ahead of the relay event. He said, “We’re looking to give our best out there showing everybody what we are made of. “I’m 100 percent healthy, no injuries. I’m anxious and more than ready to get out there.” National women’s sprint champion Kelly-Ann Baptiste will try to make amends for her sixth place finish in the women 100m final when she leads T&T 4x100m relay team in the semifinal heats. Two heats are scheduled with T&T competing in the first at 3.20 pm. Semoy Hackett, Michelle Lee Ahye Kai Selvon, Reyare Thomas, Sparkle McKnight make up the rest of the women’s team. Baptiste feels assured that the T&T quartet will do well and not making it to the podium in the 100m dash, makes her “more hungry” for success. “It’s another opportunity to get a medal which I think we can. I was really excited to see Semoy (Hackett) run a pb (personal best) in the 100m and that just boost our chances. The leg speed we have is there,” said Baptiste. “I am confident that we could go in there and if we have fun and let things go then we can get a medal.”
By Rachael Thompson-King