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THE people of Point Fortin were in a celebratory mood yesterday as they marked the victory of one of their own. TT’s Jereem Richards, 24, grabbed a gold medal in the Men’s 200m final at the Commonwealth Games held in Australia. It was the second gold medal won for TT at the games. The first was taken by sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye in the women’s 100m final.

As the news spread of Richards being named the winner, after England’s Zharnel Hughes was disqualified, people were calling and visiting his 55-year-old mother Yvette Wilson’s businessplace at Adventure Street, Point Fortin.

“God intervened and my son got the gold medal that he rightly deserves,” Wilson said. She described her son as one who is most disciplined. She said she looked at the Commonwealth games on television and was praying for her son.

“He did not get a good start but was determined to win and thus he was eventually declared the winner.” She said when Hughes was initially given the gold medal yesterday, she felt hurt as she believed Richards was the clear winner and he was cheated. On hearing the news that he was eventually declared the winner, she was overjoyed to the point of tears.

Point Fortin Mayor Abdon Mason told Newsday he saw Richards as a winner all the way and he is happy victory came to TT. “I am now in the process of making plans to honour Richards by naming a street or a park after him in the borough,” Mason said.

He told Newsday he admired the way Richards handled the results of the 200m in Australia. “He showed true sportsmanship when he congratulated Hughes and Aaron Brown.

It takes a man of pure grit and strength to accept the result knowing he crossed the finish line at the same time as the winner.”

Richards was given the key to the borough on August 18 last year.

The Point Fortin Borough Council had honoured Richards and his relay team, Machel Cedenio, who is also from Point Fortin, Jarrin Solomon and Lalonde Richards after they captured the gold medal in the 4x400m men’s relay at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championship in London in August. Richards also won bronze in the 200m at the IAAF Games last year. Mason said the relay team was awarded the Chaconia Gold medal at the 2017 national awards ceremony at President’s house.

Mason said as TT celebrated the win from a son of the soil, he is again calling for the completion of the long-awaited Mahaica Oval.

“We need to get this major sporting facility up and running as it is clear that Point Fortin is producing athletes of international standing.” He also said that he was hoping new Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe would shed some light as to when work will start.

At her food cafeteria in Point Fortin, Wilson said that apart from his determination and skill as a runner, Richards believes in God and always puts him first in whatever he does.

This was evidenced when, after the race, he held a handwritten sign which read, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Wilson was surrounded by friends and relatives in Point Fortin yesterday as many came seeking T-shirts with Richards’ image.

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