Jereem Richards credits Wayde van Niekerk for lifetime best indoor 400m on Sunday. "He pushed me beyond my limits!"

By February 09, 2022

After a relatively disappointing season in 2021, Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards announced on Sunday that he is determined to make 2022 a better year.

Richards, a finalist in the 200m at the Tokyo Olympics, opened his season with a spanking new lifetime best of 45.83 that won him the 400m at the New Balance Grand Prix in New York. The time was more than 0.5s faster than his previous indoor best of 46.37 set in January 2017 and has set the tone for what he hopes to be a successful 2022.

Still, it did not come as much of a surprise for the 2018 Commonwealth Games 200m champion.

 “I was very excited but not so surprised to finally run under 46 seconds indoor,” he told Sportsmax.TV whole crediting his training partner, who just happens to hold the outdoor world record in the event.

“In the off-season, I trained with Wayde (van Niekerk) and he pushed me beyond my limits. I must say I appreciate him as a training partner.”

2021 was a disappointing year for Richards, who was eighth in the 200m final in Tokyo but he has taken the disappointments in stride and has already put them behind him knowing that he gave it his best shot.

“I didn’t get the results that I would’ve wanted in Tokyo but I know for a fact I gave 100 per cent each and every time I touched the track,” said Richards who intends to defend his Commonwealth title later this year.

“Some years are just better than others, I guess. Each and every season I try my best to be better than I was the year before.”

Despite his progress in the indoor 400m and training with van Niekerk, Richards said there should not be any expectation of him stepping up to the longer sprint.

"I’ve always been more of a speed runner trying to put together a good 400m. I like the 400m but I have always felt comfortable over 200m plus the 400m hurts a lot," he said.

On a more sombre note, Richards’ career-best performance came less than a month after his friend, compatriot and fellow Olympian Deon Lendore perished in a motor vehicle accident in Texas. “Deon bai this one was for you. Love You, Bro,” Richards posted on Instagram after his race on Sunday.

It was the follow up to a previous post on January 11 when he described his late friend as an inspiration.

“You inspired an entire generation of athletes from your collegiate career teaching us to be confident, that anything is possible once you work hard enough.”

He told Sportsmax.TV that his performance in New York was his way of remembering his fallen comrade.

“It was a meaningful performance for me to pay tribute to Deon,” he said. “I was inspired by Deon’s achievements and his warrior spirit and I hope to inspire the younger generation just like he did.”

Richards plans on racing again in Birmingham, England, on February 19.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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