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Feature11 Jul 2022

Rising javelin star Strachan continues to climb ahead of Cali


Bahamian javelin thrower Keyshawn Strachan (© Thomas Windestam)

A throw of 85 metres is what Bahamian javelin talent Keyshawn Strachan hopes to achieve when he steps into the Pascual Guerrero Olympic Stadium for the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22 from 1-6 August.

The 18-year-old currently sits second on this season's world U20 top list for the event and aims to build on his PB and national record of 79.89m when he returns to the global stage in Colombia.

Strachan achieved that PB at the CARIFTA Games in Kingston in April, where he improved on the previous CARIFTA U20 record of 78.28m that had been held by Grenada’s 2019 world champion Anderson Peters since 2016.

Understandably, Peters is an inspiration to Strachan, as is Trinidadian Keshorn Walcott, who won the 2012 Olympic javelin title.

"I look to them because they're both from the Caribbean and they're some of the best in the world," Strachan says.

Strachan grew up on Andros, the largest island in The Bahamas, before his family migrated to the capital in New Providence. Previously a basketball player, the teenager has now been throwing for almost five years.

"Each season, I have seen my growth," he says. "Traveling to Nassau (the capital of The Bahamas), I would watch my older cousin Daniecio Burrows compete in meets and the javelin grabbed my attention.”

Keyshawn Strachan competes at the World Athletics U20 Championships Nairobi 21

Keyshawn Strachan competes at the World Athletics U20 Championships Nairobi 21 (© Roger Sedres)

When he returned to Andros, Strachan expressed to his coach that he was interested in throwing the javelin at the High School Nationals and his coach gave him the green light.

"My first season in throwing, I won’t say it was bad," Strachan adds. "I was still new at it and my personal best was 44 metres in 2018. Then I started working with Coach (Corrington Maycock, head coach at Blue Chip Throwers Club) and began to progress. Then I moved up to 53 metres.

"2019 was my breakout year."

It was during that year at the CARIFTA Games in George Town, Cayman Islands, that he set a national U17 record with a throw of 64.31m.

"I knew from there I would start climbing," Strachan says.

But his journey did not come without its challenges. Like many other athletes, Strachan saw his 2020 season paused due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But he returned in 2021 with a vengeance, with several outstanding throws at local and international competitions.

At the NACAC U23 Championships in San Jose, Strachan threw an impressive 72.13m, securing silver.

"That’s when I knew I had more in the tank," he explains.

A few weeks later, at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi, Strachan followed up by throwing 70.30m and finished seventh.

The young thrower then improved further, to that 79.89m at the 49th edition of the CARIFTA Games.

As Strachan prepares for the World U20 Championships in Cali, he adds: "I am most looking forward to the competition, which has gotten better over the last year. I am looking to throw at least 85 metres. I know I have some work to do as I need to improve on my consistency heading into the championships."

Ukraine's Artur Felfner leads this season's world U20 top list with his 84.32m throw from June, while Germany's Max Dehning sits third on the list with 78.80m. Felfner's performance moved him to fourth on the world U20 all-time list, which is topped by India's now Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra with his 86.48m throw from 2016.

Strachan's career has already taken him to Auburn University in Alabama, United States, where he plans to major in aviation and will be coached by Pat Ebel and Leroy Burrell.

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A post shared by Keyshawn Strachan (@keyshawn_strachan1)

"The transition process should not be hard, because I knew the day would come when I would head off to college," he says. "I know Coach Maycock will still be on the sideline, making sure I stay on top."

While his current focus might be on Cali, Strachan has even bigger ambitions and is already on the hunt for a gold medal for The Bahamas at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Through God I'll make the team," he adds.

Laurencia Smith for World Athletics

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