29 November 2012 – Barcelona, Spain – One of the guests at the at the IAAF Centenary Gala in Barcelona last Saturday was Trinidad and Tobago’s super-talented teenage javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott, who won the 2012 Male Rising Star Award.
The prodigious 19-year-old first triumphed at the IAAF World Junior Championships this summer and then at the Olympic Games, becoming the youngest ever Olympic gold medallist in his event and the first athlete to win World Junior and Olympic titles in an individual event the same year.
Before receiving his award from the Czech three-time Olympic javelin champion Jan Zelezny, the amiable Walcott sat down to answer questions from the media.
Has your life changed since your Olympic victory?
My life has changed hugely. I can’t walk down the street unnoticed anymore. When I went back home, the country was, how can I say, in a mess! There were people everywhere celebrating my victory. I was proud of myself but I was also proud of the fact that people were proud of me. My life has been changing because now I know that there are expectations on me, on my shoulders, going into the World Championships and future Games, and with everything else I do in the future. Now, I’ve got to work hard, put more into what I do, and there is also a bit of pressure on my shoulders.
Have you talked much with Hasely Crawford (the 1976 Olympic Games 100m champion and Trinidad and Tobago’s only other Olympic gold medallist) about how to handle your success?
Not really, I’ve just been trying to learn things on my own so hopefully things will go the way I want them to.
Did you ever imagine you would take the Olympic title?
I was expected a medal at the Olympic Games someday, but I wasn’t expecting it so soon.
What was your favourite moment when you were last in Barcelona, at the World Junior Championships?
Coming out and winning with my last throw in the competition. I was behind going into the last round and when the other guy (Argentina’s silver medallist Braian Toledo) couldn’t beat it; that was my best moment.
What are you doing now as far as your academic studies are concerned?
I’ve recently signed a professional contract so I’m not studying right now. I am concentrating on the sport.
What are your goals for the next year?
First of all, I want to be healthy for the entire season. As a javelin thrower, I obviously don’t have an indoor season so I’m going to work towards next summer's World Championships in Russia.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF