National track star Jereem Richards is on the path to athletics glory but remains grounded. The 2017 double World Championships medallist recently won gold at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix with the 7th fastest time ever in the 300m final. However, Richards, who runs locally for Arima club Abilene Wildcats, has not forgotten where he came from.
Richards, through his sponsor adidas, recently donated 33 pairs of track shoes to south club Point Fortin New Jets.
In a Twitter post, Richards, who signed a pro contract with the multinational sports apparel company in September last year, said, “I’m very thankful to adidas for the donation to the Point Fortin New Jets. There’s a lot of talented individuals in this group! Have a blessed season and may your performances increase. Impossible is nothing.”
Eric MccRee, coach at Point Fortin New Jets, yesterday thanked Richards for his benevolence and remembering his roots.
“He told me he just wanted to give back because he started in Point Fortin basically. He migrated because there was no (track here),” MccRee said.
The Point Fortin coach said his young athletes were thrilled to get the new gear from their hero.
“They were elated about it, knowing it’s from a man from the soil and he’s reached the pinnacle but he hasn’t forget where he come from.” He said despite Richards’ rise to fame and his commitments, he often engages with the club and offers his services.
“He’s a home-boy and people here are from his community – he knows them. We would meet at games and we’d talk. Everytime he comes back every year, he would give a free training stint. If we’re on the beach, he would do a little thing on the beach with us. No matter how small the ground is, he will still come in and put in a little work. That says he’s an excellent guy and a role model.”
MccRee said athletics in Point Fortin is suffering though from lack of facilities.
“Right now I’m forced to train among the footballers at Mahaica Oval where there is not a track design.
The normal area where we’d train is at Coronation Park but rain has been falling from August till now. Rain would usually start like October so we would get a good spell to train from August to October but that hasn’t happened.”
He said the inadequate facilities has cost his club a couple athletes who left to join other clubs.