TWO-TIME Trinidad and Tobago Olympic medallist Keshorn Walcott returns to action at the Kuortane Games in Finland on Saturday.
Three days later, he suits up once more for the javelin event at the Spitzen Leichtathletik in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Walcott will be using these two meets to mirror his event programme at the Tokyo Games. At the Olympics, the men's qualifying round launches on the morning of August 4, followed by the finals on August 7.
These two forthcoming meets in Finland and Switzerland will serve as a competitive gauge for him, leading up to a similar schedule in Japan.
"At the Olympics we have a two-day gap in the middle of events and it's the same with these two coming meets. It's just something I wanted to do because I haven't been competing for a while.
"I wanted to test out how my body will react after those two close competitions. There's no anxiety for these two competitions. We decided to use it as a test for the Games, being that it's so close," he said en route to Finland on Thursday.
The 28-year old recently returned to international competition after over 19 months away from the sport owing to the pandemic.
On May 19, he took part in his first top-flight competition for the 2021 season - Ostrava Golden Spike Games in the Czech Republic - and threw to bronze with an 82.75 metre effort.
Four days later, he bagged silver with a throw of 77.78 metres at the 2021 Wanda Diamond League in Gateshead, England. On June 8, he threw a season best distance of 82.84 metres at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland.
Strangely enough, the Portugal-based Walcott achieved these podium places without coach Ismael Lopez Mastrapa at his side. Mastrapa had encountered some visa issues, but was able to join up with his athlete two weeks ago.
"I'm happier now that my coach is here and I would not have to depend on myself to try and coach and compete at the same time. It's a huge bonus knowing that he's here," Walcott said.
Although the Toco-bred athlete secured podium places at these recent meets, Walcott knew his distances were still a bit average.
At the 2012 London Games, he won gold with an 84.58 metre distance and then took bronze, four years later, with an 85.38 metre throw at the Summer Games in Brazil. In 2015 he attained his personal best of 90.16 metres in Lausanne, Switzerland.
After carefully observing his three 2021 performances, Walcott took the last two weeks off from competition to work with Mastrapa on some key elements of his throws.
"I've been training for the past two weeks trying to fix some technical issues. I think I've gotten ahold of it, so things should be better. It's been good. I feel good. I would say I'm more confident than the other ones (meets) before," he added.
Walcott knows his potential and opted to take a short break from competing to fine-tune his craft.
"That's why I chose to stop for the last two weeks and not compete. I know I have longer distances in me.
"When I kept checking over my technique after competitions, I saw where I was making mistakes. It's just been some small things I need to readjust. I think it will be better from here."
Walcott, who is TT's second Olympic gold medallist behind Hasely Crawford (100 metres at the 1976 Olympics in Canada), climaxes his pre-Olympic prep on July 13 - ten days before the games - at the London leg of the Diamond League.
He does not plan to peak at either of these earlier meets and is saving his best performance for the big stage.
With Mastrapa, the man behind his Olympic podium displays, at his side, Walcott is comfortable as he winds down preparations ahead of his third Games.
Additionally, he has been monitoring the progress of Europe's top throwers, who have been racking up some lengthy distances over the past few weeks.
"We always have a plan. Our plan is always (to do the best) at the major championship, which is the Olympic Games. I'm not worried about the throws that come before.
The javelin has been good this year with a couple guys throwing well."
"But as I said before, I think the distances are there, it's just for me to settle in to my technique and get it going. I am feeling good. I'm happy that I stopped and fixed what I needed to. Now I'm in a better place going into competition and more confident in my technique."