The Dream

GOLD CARD: This digital cartoon character image of Jereem “The Dream” Richards is part of the Athletic Excellence Trading Card project. Richards has designed more than 80 cards, featuring Trinidad and Tobago’s best athletes--past and present. The Commonwealth Games men’s 200 metres champion said he hopes the cards will “promote sport in Trinidad and Tobago, increasing public awareness of the country’s excellence on the global stage”.

Jereem “The Dream” Richards has his challenges as he continues to prepare for the 2021 track and field season. The Trinidad and Tobago sprint star, however, is confident he will be ready to challenge for honours at the July 23 to August 8 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“My training has definitely been impacted by the rise of Covid-19 cases,” Richards told the Express. “But no, it does not make me have any doubts. I know when it’s time I’ll be ready. I trust in God and I trust in the process, so I’ll keep working to the best of my ability and leave the rest to God.

“To keep myself in the game mentally, I’m just focusing on the things that I have control over and leaving the rest to God. Ultimately, it makes no sense worrying about things I have no control over.”

Richards said the closure of gyms has not had a big impact on his training programme.

“I’m still lifting weights at my father-in-law’s home gym and doing stuff at home. But the wearing of masks in a public area has definitely made it harder for me to train. It’s harder for me to breathe and recover while doing a workout. For example, if I were to go and do a hill run, I would have to run each rep with a mask on, making it harder for me to breathe.”

Athletes have been competing in the United States, Europe, Asia and Jamaica. In T&T, however, a decision was made in May to cancel the remainder of the local track and field season.

“It kind of concerns me,” said Richards. “With this virus, we have to learn how to adapt and stay healthy, at least try to live life normal and cope with it so that our family and friends are safe. I believe we have the ability to host meets on a smaller scale, in a way that everyone can be safe and protected using the right protocols.”

The reigning Commonwealth Games men’s 200 metres champion is confident the Covid-19 pandemic will not prevent the Tokyo Games from being staged next year.

“Too much money has been spent on the Olympics, and they postponed it once already, so I believe they will do their best to pull it off. If it reaches to the point where they have to do it without any fans, I think they would.

“I’m trying to focus on myself and my progress,” Richards continued, “give the best effort that I possibly have, and put my blood, sweat and tears into next year’s Olympic Games, God spare life. My goals for the 2021 season are to become an Olympic medallist and to create a great history for Trinidad and Tobago.”

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