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Athletics | International

Keshorn Walcott © Gallo Images

Walcott confronts "huge change"



Keshorn Walcott sprung one of the biggest surprises of the London Olympics when he took gold for Trinidad and Tobago in the javelin in August and the 19-year-old says it has changed his life "in a huge way".

Crowned junior world champion in Barcelona less than a month earlier, Walcott won gold with a personal best of 84.58 metres to become the youngest winner of an Olympic javelin title.

"First of all I can't walk the road normal," Walcott said at a news conference at the IAAF centenary celebrations inBarcelona, where he was named rising star of the year on Saturday.

"When I got back home the country was in a mess, there were people all over the place, there was a big celebration for my victory so I was proud of myself and I was proud of the people and I know the people were proud of me," he added.

"My life has changed because now I know there's a lot of expectations on my shoulders.

"I have to work hard and do everything a little bit more, it's a bit of pressure."

Walcott, who named cricketing great and compatriot Brian Lara as his inspiration, is starting to reap the rewards of his rapid rise and said he had recently signed a sponsorship contract with sporting goods maker Nike.

He also received a bonus of $200 000 from the authorities in his native Trinidad for winning the Olympic title which he said he was planning to invest wisely.

His success in London in an event not traditionally associated with the Caribbean islands would hopefully inspire more young people to take up javelin and other throwing disciplines, he added.

"Hopefully there will be more field athletes coming out of the Caribbean and we've already seen an improvement," Walcott, wearing a t-shirt with the badge of his favourite soccer club Barcelona, told reporters.

"I always expected to get a medal but I wasn't expecting it so soon.

"I hope I am not going to be an exception and it opens the door to others."

TRACK FOCUS

Walcott, who admitted after his triumph in London he was surprised even to be in the final, said he used to play cricket before focusing on the javelin and that his experience as a medium-pace bowler helped him with his throwing technique.

His immediate priority was to prepare well for the 2013 season, when he will be bidding to add the senior world title inMoscow in August to his curriculum , he added.

"I haven't started anything like school so I am just focused on track at the moment.

"First of all it's important to be healthy going into next season and I'm going to work towards the world championships in Russia."



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