Rowley hails sprint champs Richards, Ahye

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has praised newly-crowned Commonwealth Games 200 metres champion, Jereem Richards, for his “tenacity and sportsmanship” following his success at the ongoing games in Australia.

Richards delivered T&T’s first medal in the 200m in nearly half-a-century when he won the half-lap in controversial circumstances on Thursday in Gold Coast.

He was initially awarded silver in a close finish with Zharnel Hughes but the England sprinter was subsequently disqualified for obstruction, after his flailing arms struck Richards in the nearby lane and impeded his progress.

“It gives me great pleasure to congratulate young Mr. Richards on his hard-fought victory, as he has simultaneously carved out a place for himself in the history books of our nation,” Rowley said.

“Not since 1970 has an athlete from Trinidad and Tobago earned a medal in the 200m men’s event at the Commonwealth Games. With this victory, Mr. Richards has also secured this nation our very first gold medal in that category.”

Richards was timed at 20.12 seconds, claiming his first global title and ensuring Trinidad their second sprint gold of the meet, following Michelle-Lee Ahye’s success in the 100m earlier in the week.

His success follows on the heels of his bronze in the same event at last year’s World Championships in London.

“He has every reason to be proud of this achievement, given his persistence and dedication to his discipline over the years.” Rowley continued.

“These qualities most certainly contributed to his capacity to run a challenging race, without losing focus and emerging victorious in the end.

“Despite the outlook, in spite of the seemingly insurmountable odds that he faced in the final stretch, Jereem gave it his all. He didn’t falter. He never gave up. And in the end he prevailed.

“We commend Jereem on his tenacity and sportsmanship. This outcome, no doubt a result of his hard work and sacrifice, will certainly boost the confidence of our local athletes as they too seek to excel in this field.”

Rowley also praised Ahye who produced a riveting performance to win the women’s marquee sprint on Monday and become the first Trinidadian woman ever to win gold at a Commonwealth Games.

“The distinction of becoming the first woman to win a Commonwealth Gold medal for Trinidad and Tobago in the 100m sprint will undoubtedly inspire other young women and girls to aim for similar excellence in the field of sport,” Rowley noted.

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