EPHRAIM SERRETTE, president of the National Association of Athletic Administrations (NAAA), and Alvin Daniel have both lauded the achievement of sprinter Jereem Richards after the 24-year-old took gold in the men’s 200-metre final, at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia yesterday.
Richards and Anguilla-born Zharnel Hughes, representing England, crossed the finish line yesterday in 20.12 seconds but Hughes was initially declared the winner after a photo finish. But the 22-year-old was disqualified after his left arm made contact with Richards, the 2017 IAAF World Championships bronze medallist.
Richards is the third TT medallist at this 2018 Games, following swimmer Dylan Carter (silver in the men’s 50m butterfly) and sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye (gold in the women’s 100m).
“Jereem’s victory certainly augurs well,” said Serrette. “The sport continues to be on a momentum, coming off the World Championships last year, with Michelle-Lee winning gold and now Jereem.”
Serrette, the ex-national sprinter, also noted the performances from the track and field contingent in Australia, including Sparkle McKnight (women’s 400m hurdles), Aleena Brooks (women’s 800m), Khalifa St Fort and Reyare Thomas (women’s 100m).
He also mentioned the recognition the sport of track and field got at last month’s First Citizens Sports Foundation, winning the junior and senior Sports Personalities of the Year, as well as the Administration of the Year.
“All and all, it augurs well for our sport,” he noted.
Serrette continued, “Michelle-Lee and Jereem, haven’t too long left the junior ranks and made the transition, so the other junior athletes that we have now could understand that they too can do this. So, it’s just a matter of getting serious and putting in the work, in order to deliver on the big stage.”
Daniel, the ex-national quarter-miler, was also pleased with the achievement of his fellow Point Fortin native.
“I always celebrate anyone of our people, whether they’re from Point (Fortin) or not,” Daniel said. “Point is very close to my heart. All and all, it’s good for the country.”
However, Daniel noted the struggles athletes from the borough face with regards to facilities such as the Mahaica Oval.
“Look at where the talent is coming (from including) Richards and (Machel) Cedenio. But we’re facing problems with facilities in Point Fortin. I don’t know why – a place so blessed.”
Asked for his opinion of the incident between Richards and Hughes, Daniel replied, “Richards was already passing him, before the guy obstruct him.”
But Daniel encouraged Richards to improve on his running around the bend.
“What I think he is doing is giving away too much distance on the turn,” Daniel pointed out. “Anytime there is a real high calibre of athletes, I think that he’s going to suffer because of that.
“He has a lot of talent, but I think he needs to focus a lot on the turn. He needs to come off the turn as much as possible in front of his competitors, if he wants to dominate as much as he could dominate.”
In related news, concerning Ahye’s status in the national women’s 4x100m relay team, Serrette said, “I haven’t had any information from Australia. The last thing I know is that she said she wasn’t going to be running any relay.”