Reynaldo Walcott – the coach now lifting Fraser-Pryce to new heights
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica’s premier female sprinter, sent her stocks soaring higher last Saturday morning at the National Stadium when she broke the national record for the women’s 100 metres on her way to the title of the ‘World’s fastest woman alive’.
While Fraser-Pryce continues to wow local and international track and field fans with her performances, however, not a lot is known about her coach Reynaldo Walcott.Under the expert coaching of Walcott, the 34-year-old Fraser-Pryce is now the second fastest woman of all time after she clocked 10.63 seconds in the short sprint at the JOA/JAAA Olympic Destiny Series at the National Stadium. The four-time World 100m champion and two-time Olympic champion has been under the tutelage of Walcott for just over a year following Fraser-Pryce’s switch from MVP Track Club.
Walcott, 33, is known more in junior track and field circles as the head coach of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), where he has guided scores of athletes to success at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships and on the international scene. Last month he led the Santa Cruz-based school’s boys team to an impressive fourth-place finish at the championships.
“I attended STETHS where I got involved in track and field through the then coach Mr Eldemire Smith. I went to the University of Technology and while there I became a volunteer on their track and field team team and assigned to be student manager which I did for about three years. After graduating, I started working at STETHS full-time, however, during the summer I went to Europe and prepared meals for the members of the MVP Track Club and also assisted with training here and there ...” Walcott said.
Walcott has now branched out into coaching senior athletes at his Elite Performance Track Club (EPTC). He admitted that his time in and around MVP played a crucial role in him being the coach he is today. He described his experience as “priceless and instructive”. While reluctant to speak about the inside knowledge he would have garnered he said it aided the development of the EPTC blueprint.
“Experience does teach wisdom. My experience there is priceless,” Walcott said. “It has been instrumental because I got first hand experience (about coaching).”
Walcott who currently has four senior athletes under his wings at EPTC, including the reigning World 100 metres champion Fraser-Pryce, said he expects the club to grow not just with talent but athletes having a strong mindset. The other athletes are Shimarya Williams, Winston Barnes and Kemar Green.
Continue to grow
“We want to continue to grow of course, but as carefully as we can. We want this growth to be with persons with the right attitude and a strong mindset towards hard work and success. These athletes should have the potential to become world class, not only because of talent but also with the right attitude,” Walcott said.
While Walcott enjoys working as a coach, he is also a businessman. He has branched off into pineapple farming over the past three years as a means of diversifying his income.
“About three years ago I was looking for a way to diversify my income stream. A friend of mine pointed me in that direction. I figured it was something I could manage in addition to all the other stuff that I would be doing,” Walcott informed.
“This year is probably my biggest harvest and you know we are having a glut in the market because the hotels aren’t open as they used to be. As a result, I had to find creative means to get the products sold. A lot of my friends and persons I’m familiar with were at the National Stadium last Saturday, so I sent out a message that I will have them (pineapples) for sale after the meet,” he added.
Apart from coaching and now pineapple farmer, Walcott is also a teacher at STETHS, one who is very much engaged administratively with almost everything sports-related.
When asked about him remaining humble and committed to all his endeavours Walcott said: “There is a beauty in modesty despite working to achieve extreme results.”