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MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE: Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago, second left, looks across the track as he leaves Emmanuel Eseme of Cameroon, left, Udodi Chudi Onwuzurike of Nigeria, second right, and Paul Amoah of Ghana in his wake in the Commonwealth Games Men's 200 metres final at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, England, yesterday. - Photo: AP


Athletics community hails 'Dream' Richards

Go Back : Express : Sports Desk : 06.08.2022

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Olympic Committee president Diane Henderson described Jereem Richard's gold medal feat yesterday as "an example to the entire country of what can be achieved by determination, discipline and focus".

Richards recorded a personal best, a new Commonwealth Games record - previously held by former sprinter Frankie Fredericks of Namibia - and a successful defence of his Men's 200 metres title at the Commonwealth Games on his way to Team TTO's first athletics medal in Birmingham.

"What this young man has just done is demonstrate (that) what you perceive to do, you can achieve with discipline and purpose," Henderson said.

"He knew what he wanted and he clearly worked for it and kept focus throughout the months prior, all the way up to today. This is just an example to all the athletes and to everyone of what can be achieved if you really, really want something. It can be done.

"Congratulations, Jereem, and to our other medal-winner (cyclist) Nicholas Paul on their outstanding performances."

Henderson added that Richards put his heart and soul into yesterday's race as a dedication to his fallen friend.

"I know that Deon Lendore would be thrilled at this result," Henderson conclu_ded.

National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago (NAAATT) president George Commissiong was "overjoyed" for Richards' gold-medal performance after TTO's disappointing _returns at the World Junior World Athletics Championships that recently concluded in Cali, Colombia.

"On behalf of NAAATT, I extend congratulations to him and to his handlers. It was a somewhat disappointing week for our junior athletes and by extension athletics in Trinidad and Tobago. So Jereem's feat: gold medal repeat, PB and new Games record is very welcomed news. We anxiously await the results of the other events. Go Team TTO!," Commissiong stated.

Minister of Sport and Community Development (MSCD) Shamfa Cudjoe also congratulated Richards yesterday. "Jereem clocked a blistering personal best, ultimately winning gold and defending his 200m title in Birmingham. This is a great moment for sport and the athletic world is celebrating right now. It is with great pride that our entire Ministry, the Government as well as the local sporting fraternity, join in celebrating Mr Richard's latest victory".

Former NAAATT president and sprinter Ephraim Serrette said it was the first time he recalled Richards running such an aggressive bend in the 200m.

"He really did run the curve really well and that is what is needed for the 200," Serrette analysed. "He was very confident coming in, even though as defending champion, it does put some pressure. But it can also be a plus."

Serrette added that Richards' strategy of sparingly using his energy during the rounds, being efficient and doing just enough to win his heats before "dropping the hammer" in the final, obviously paid off.

What also benefited him, according to Serrette, was his time spent doing 400s early in the season and his participation in a training camp environment that included top athletes like World champion Noah Lyles and Olympic champion Wayde Van Niekirk.

"I wish all of our athletes would demonstrate that kind of heart and hunger - you could see it in his face - he wanted it bad," Serrette said, adding that Ato Boldon's national record of 19.77 seconds could fall either later this year or next year.

Meanwhile, TTO manager of the athletics squad in Birmingham, Dexter Voisin described it as "a stunning performance, winning gold, establishing a personal best and a Commonwealth Games record, which was held by Ato Boldon."

Voisin added that he was expecting the best effort by the TTO athletes in their _remaining events.