TRINIDAD – ‘Recession’ reward for Walcott
PORT OF SPAIN – No final decision has been made regarding a State reward for Keshorn Walcott, Trinidad and Tobago’s only medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, but the country’s recession will have to be taken into consideration, says Sports Minister Darryl Smith.
Smith told the Express a committee was being set up to do a post mortem of the team that represented the country in Brazil.
Smith said the committee which will include former Olympian Hasely Crawford, will be speaking with Keshorn Walcott who received the bronze medal in the men’s javelin competition, to find out what his needs were, so an appropriate reward can be given.
When exactly Walcott will return to Trinidad, neither Smith nor Walcott’s manager Sean Roach could confirm since he has several other meets to attend.
Walcott’s next meet is on Saturday at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Diamond League in France, Roach said.
Thirty-one medallists, including ten Olympic champions, will compete.
Smith said that several athletes have already returned home although they left together as a team.
When asked about a fitting reward for Walcott, Smith replied: “We are working on that now. We have having discussions with the organisations, the chairman and it has to be approved by Cabinet. Remember, we are in a recession, things are tough we are looking at all of that. We will talk to Keshorn see what his needs are and we will certainly go from there.”
He added: “We want to make sure that the athletes are comfortable with what they want to do when they return. All that is being ironed out.”
In 2012, when Walcott won gold at the London Olympics, he was given a $2.67 million home at East Grove, Valsayn, 20,000 square feet of land in Toco, and the Toco secondary school and light house were renamed in his honour.
Smith said very national governing body had to submit a report to the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee which will then be submitted to the ministry.
He said: “ We need to start the preparation, we need to find out what went wrong and what went right so we could improve.”
Smith has said previously the Government gave $900,000 to the TTOC to be used for both the Olympics and Paralympics. He also said the Government throughout has assisted athletes who were injured and who had special requests for training.
And Smith said he was looking forward to launching a new sports policy early next year which will determine how athletes were funded and where the ministry will be investing most of its resources.