(Trinidad Guardian) Double medallist at the just concluded IAAF World Championships has called on the public to come out in support of local track and field in the future.
His call came at a welcome reception at the VIP Lounge of the Piarco International Airport yesterday held to honour the country’s 4×400 metres relay team which captured gold in the final on Sunday at the Olympic Stadium, London, England. The quartet of Jarrin Solomon, Richards, Machel Cedenio and Lalonde Gordon stunned the athletic world by producing a lightning quick two minutes, 58.12 seconds to claim the gold, ahead of track and field powerhouse USA, and England in third.
Richards, the only member of the quartet to return home on Monday, was given a bouquet of flowers to present to his mother Yvette Wilson. Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith said the Cabinet will decide on a way to appropriately honour the athletes in the coming days. Richards who also won bronze in the 200 metres final last week from another gutsy run, said he wanted to see much more support for the sport as he described it as.
“We have a lot of good athletes coming up and we need and deserve the support of T&T, not just when we go to major championships but in the stadium for Senior Champs and other track meets, come out and support and show the athletes that you have our backs” Richards said.
He added “When there are football matches, the stadium gets filled so come full up the stadium.” He told the audience that his successes were due mainly to the support of his single mother and sister Brittney Richards, saying that he thought of his mother for this season because of the hard work he knew that she put in to help him achieve his goals.
“I decided to dedicate this season to my mom. I worked really hard after the Olympics and to see what you have prayed for come through, tells you that God is real.” Richards said.
Minister Smith said the country needs this type of positivity in this difficult climate. He praised all the members of the TT contingent, both men and women, saying it was a matter of split seconds that made the difference. The team produced the country’s best ever showing at a world championship event, making it to five finals and winning gold and bronze medals. “Two years ago in Beijing we came second to the US. It is a big leap to jump from second gold, so I say that in the context of us being patient because we were not in the shoes of Richards or the other, we can only live through their experience” Smith said.
He noted that this type of positivity is what’s needed for our young people, describing it as difficult times for sport worldwide. He told the gathering that his ministry has pumped more money into track and field, and will continue to work with the NSAs in the future.