Trinidad’s Jereem Richards signs with Adidas
Mere weeks after he won gold as a member of Trinidad and Tobago’s history-making mile relay team that upset the United States to win gold at the IAAF World Championships in London in August, Jereem Richards has signed a professional contract with Adidas.
The 23-year-old Richards, who also won a bronze medal in the 200m in London, will graduate from the University of Alabama this fall and will forego his final year of eligibility. “I am actually graduating from the University of Alabama this semester so I will be done with collegiate running and ready to start my career as a professional athlete,” Richards told SportsMax.tv on Tuesday. “The better decision for me was to go professional this year.”
The signing of the professional contract was one of the several goals Richards had set this year, and one by one, he has been ticking the boxes as he strides towards a successful professional career.
“I really prayed a lot this year. God had really blessed me. I had a better relationship with God this year and I wrote some goals on my board, and I realized this year that most of the goals I was able to cross them off and before I even went to London I had two goals there, one was World Championships and one was to go professional,” he said. “I went in there really relaxed and I had a good meet.”
Richards clocked 20.11 to cross the line third in the 200m, the same time as South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk, who won silver, and 0.02s behind gold medalist, Ramel Guliyev of Turkey. He later returned to run a blistering second leg to spur T&T to a gold medal in the 4x400m relay in a world-leading 2:58.12s
He expressed his gratitude to the University of Alabama that helped him make his dreams come true. “Without them, I couldn’t do it because here is where I trained, here is where I had the facilities and the coaches; Blaine Wiley, he really helped me out a lot, he planned out the season really good for me. I still had a lot of energy this year and to get that performance it was just a great achievement,” said Richards who ran a 43.60 relay split to put Trinidad and Tobago in the position to win their first-ever mile-relay gold medal at a world championship.
Shortly after the triumphant Richards returned home to T&T last month, Ephraim Serrette President of the National Association of Athletics Administrations, described the now star sprinter as the future of T&T’s track and field.
Richards said he was honoured to be considered such. “It honestly makes me feel great and I hope that the younger athletes in Trinidad and Tobago – boys and girls – would just work hard and realize how much hard work could really pay off,” he said. “I hope that (his performances in London) motivates them to do well at the CARIFTA Games and I hope it helps a lot of the athletes that come out of the Under 20 and the junior systems to make that great transition into the senior level.”
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