T&T’s World Championships gold and silver medallist Jereem Richards returned to the southlands this past weekend to deliver the feature address at ASJA Boys’ College in San Fernando. It’s where he studied CAPE before heading off to Alabama State University. He described his journey from a little boy idolising Ato Boldon to winning a gold medal on one of track and field’s biggest stages. His success spoke loudly this summer, but his struggles were silent.
It was on the back of these struggles he laid the foundation for an inspirational dialogue with students who sat in the same chairs he once sat in. One of the biggest setbacks of his career was not being able to start Alabama University on time. Facing logistical issues with the NCAA, Richards was forced to come back home. It dealt a massive blow to his aspirations of not only starting college, but starting to race in college. It is that period, however, that strengthened the mettle in sprinter. He said, “If you take the bad things, you can turn it into positives. Take the bad things as something you can work on, as lessons you can learn, that you can change into something positive.”
The 400m runner recalled advice T&T Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis gave him, that has stuck with him throughout his career. He said, “Each time you compete, the clock starts back at zero... To everyone in the room here, I’m very proud of all your achievements but now it’s time to reset your goals and set something else and achieve that. You’re not supposed to get stagnant and get comfortable. There are always ways to get better.”