NATIONAL track and field athlete Jereem Richards, said he is eagerly anticipating a fruitful year ahead and is ready to get the ball rolling, when the NGC/National Association of Athletics Administrations Open Championships takes place, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, this weekend.
Richards, speaking with the media yesterday during a meet and greet session with young athletes, at the Republic Bank Sports Club, in Barataria, said, “Preparation has been really well. I am taking some time away from the professional circuit just to find back my legs in practice and I feel confident to come out here and perform. I feel really well (and) I had some really good weeks of practice, so I am looking forward to competing this weekend.”
Richards, who will be lining up in the men’s 200m event, on Friday and Sunday, at the National Championships, was part of the quartet that won gold at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan, in May.
The next year will be a busy time for local athletes. Following the National Championships this weekend, the athletes will focus on the 2019 Pan American Games from July 29 - August 11 in Peru, followed by the 2019 World Championships in Qatar from September 27 - October 6 and the event all athletes dream about – the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Looking ahead to the major events Richards said, “I am not sure about the other athletes (mindset), but for me (I) definitely want to get the ball rolling. I want to get some wins underneath my belt, just stay consistent and stay healthy...I know when it is time to perform and I want to be ready and I want to be able to do the best that I can.”
Richards and Kyle Greaux have been the most consistent men’s 200m athletes in recent years and it is a battle Richards is waiting on.
“I am really, really excited. I have been working really hard and I know Kyle probably working hard too, so (I am) looking forward to competing this weekend.”
Richards won’t be running the 400m event on the weekend, but says he will have an eye on his countrymen because it is a race full of talent.
“It is just good to know that TT has a really good quality of 400m runners like Deon Lendore, Machel Cedenio, Lalonde Gordon, Renny Quow, Dwight St Hillaire who is young coming up (and) Asa Guevara. It is always good to know that we have that quality of athletes and that depth. I would not be competing in the 400m though, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens because I know everybody is in good shape and you never could tell what could happen.”
Looking ahead to the Olympics, Richards wants to make his mark after missing out on the action four years ago.
“Definitely, at the Olympics (I am) looking for gold also. Last time I was there at the 2016 Olympics I wasn’t able to compete, I was just there as a reserve. That really lighted a fire in my heart, it made me want to be there to perform for TT (and) to be able to compete.”
Speaking about the possibility of the men’s 4x400m team creating history next year, he said, “It will mean a lot for us to add an Olympic title. It will be our first in a 4x4 relay ever. It just goes to show that a small island like TT could produce big possibilities out here in this world. I know everybody is working hard and once everything comes together it would (possibly happen).”