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Golden August for pan patriot Jereem
FLASHBACK: Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago, second left, sees off Emmanuel Eseme of Cameroon, Udodi Chudi Onwuzurike of Nigeria and Paul Amoah of Ghana, from left to right ,win the Commonwealth Games Men's 200 metres final in the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, England, last month. - Photo: AP

Golden August for pan patriot Jereem

Go Back : Express : Kwame Laurence : 03.09.2022

Double gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England earned Jereem "The Dream" Richards Express Star of the Month honours for August.

Richards cruised through the rounds in the Men's 200 metres, winning his first race in a wind-aided 20.68 seconds and following up with a semi-final victory in 20.40. On to the final!

In the championship race, Richards was in a class of his own, stopping the clock at a personal best 19.80 to retain his title. The clocking was a new Games record. The jaw-dropping run was hailed as one of the outstanding performances at Birmingham 2022 - across all sports.

Victory, though, was not enough. Jereem dreamt of hearing the steelpan rendition of the Trinidad and Tobago anthem at the 200m medal ceremony. The Point Fortin sprint star spoke his dream into existence, his request for pan in a post-race interview reaching the ears of the powers that be.

The smile that accompanied the first note of "Forged from the Love of Liberty" during that memorable medal ceremony told the story of a patriot who takes great pride in putting his country on the map.

In less than 20 seconds, "The Dream" had done more for T&T tourism than the many millions of dollars spent by successive Governments. Pan to the world! If ever there was a strong case to invest in our sportsmen and women, this was it.

There was more to come. Later in the day, Richards and his beloved pan were back on centre stage.

Dwight St Hillaire, Asa Guevara, Machel Cedenio and anchorman Richards combined for gold in the 4x400 metres event in three minutes, 01.29 seconds. Another medal ceremony. Another opportunity for the world to hear the sweet sounds of pan.

The 4x4 gold was only the second relay win for T&T in Commonwealth Games history. St Hillaire, Guevara, Cedenio and Richards, as well as qualifying round runners Che Lara and Kashief King, joined the iconic 1966 quartet in the history books.

Fifty-six years after Lennox Yearwood, Kent Bernard, Edwin Roberts and Wendell Mottley blazed the track in Kingston, Jamaica in a 4x440 yards world record time of 3:02.8, St Hillaire, Guevara, Cedenio and Richards secured another Commonwealth 4x4 gold for T&T.

Richards will be doing all in his power to ensure the next gap between relay golds will be just four years.

Richards and his team-mates have added motivation in their quest for continued global 4x4 success.

"I know Deon would be looking down at us," said Richards, "and very proud of this 4x4 team. From where we came to be Commonwealth Games champions ... that's something he would be proud of."

Deon Lendore died in a vehicular accident in Texas, USA, in January. Throughout 2022, Richards, the 4x4 team and other T&T athletes have been paying tribute to their fallen comrade, honouring him with their successes.

Lendore's untimely death left T&T without his services at Birmingham 2022. His signature "Moodset" symbol and archer celebration, however, figured prominently at the quadrennial Games, courtesy of T&T's double gold medallist.

And there was icing on the August cake for Richards. The June Star of the Month finished third at the Athletissima Wanda Diamond League meet in Lausanne, Switzerland in 19.95 seconds - his fourth sub-20 200 this year.

The dream run continues.