Every Stride A Tribute
Jereem Richards certainly on target to continue achieving ‘The Dream’
‘Every Stride A Tribute’ should read ‘every winning stride’ because crossing the line first was something that Jereem ‘The Dream’ Richards did a lot in 2022, on the prestigious stages of the World Indoor Championships and the Commonwealth Games. With his individual victory at the latter, the Point Fortin athlete created a seminal moment as he mounted the top step of the Commonwealth podium, having his request honoured for the steelpan version of T&T’s national anthem to be played, giving T&T culture a new level of exposure.
Though his success is built upon the hard work that he puts into his training, there was a little extra motivation in his stride this year, not one that he would have wanted, but one that he utilises, nonetheless. In January 2022, with the promise of a new season ahead, fellow T&T runner and inspiration, Olympic, Pan Am Games and World Championship medalist Deon Lendore, lost his life in a vehicular accident. He was a close friend of Richards. “Deon was one of the pioneers of my generation. He motivated a lot of us in Trinidad & Tobago; proved to us that it was possible to run fast, get an education and become a professional.”
Richards paid tribute in the best possible way, by winning the 400M World Indoor title in March, before defending his Commonwealth 200M with a Games record of 19.80secs, then anchoring the 4x400M Relay team to their gold medal. In Lendore’s absence, Richards took his friend’s role of influencer. “I know he would have wanted his legacy to live on and motivate younger athletes like he would have done. Each time I had to run, even if I felt scared a little, I told myself that ‘Deon wouldn’t get scared, he would motivate his team’.”
As a further tribute, Richards copied Lendore’s bow and arrow celebration as he crossed the line. With only an Olympic medal required to complete his Games set, Jereem is certainly on target to continue achieving ‘The Dream’.