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World javelin champion Peters looks back to inspiration from Walcott

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-07-02 10:37

BEIJING - Reigning world javelin champion Anderson Peters spoke about his early inspiration to take up athletics - Usain Bolt and Keshorn Walcott - in a podcast with World Athletics on Tuesday.

However, the 22-year-old admitted that javelin wasn't his first choice.

Coming from Grenada, a Caribbean island, Peters dreamed of becoming a sprinter after watching the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

"When I started track and field, Usain Bolt just broke the world record. So like I wanted to be the next Usain Bolt," he recalled.

Frequent injuries dashed his dream. Under the advice of his coach, he turned to field events and became a javelin thrower at the age of 14, inspired by Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic champion Walcott.

"I started as a javelin thrower in 2012. I started training right after the [London] Olympics because I saw Keshorn Walcott become the Olympic champion. [I thought] if he could do it, then I could do it too because his country is about thirty minutes of flying from my country," he said.

The sport brought him to the international stage in 2013, when the World Under-18 Championships was held in Donetsk, Ukraine.

"At that point in time I didn't know what the competition around the world really was. A guy won with 78m; to me, that was crazy. I've never seen the javelin thrown to 78m until that moment, in person. That was a great moment for me."

Failing to qualify for Rio 2016 with a 79.95m record, he improved the number to 84m in 2017, which was enough to earn him a ticket to his first-ever World Championships in London. However, the result was far from satisfactory.

"I underperformed so bad. I did 78m," he said, blaming the result on being "star-struck" in a packed stadium.

"It was crazy being able to be on the field, looking at the guys in person who I've been looking at on Youtube for so long," he said. "The stadium was in full capacity at every session, morning and evening, 60,000 people. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life."

However, Peters was no longer that nervous kid when he won gold at the Doha World Championships in 2019 with a throw at 86.89m, winning his first-ever world title. Now, the Grenadian is hoping the Olympic medal back to the Caribbean.

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