Jereem "The Dream" Richards has a burning desire to climb an Olympic podium, and wants to ensure he is properly prepared to challenge for precious metal at the 2024 Games in Paris, France.
Richards came up just short in his bid to qualify for the men's 400 metres final at the World Athletics Championships here in Budapest, Hungary. In Tuesday's semi-final round, the Trinidad and Tobago athlete finished fourth in his heat in 44.76 seconds and ninth overall. The top eight progressed to today's championship race.
Richards, though, has appeared in multiple major finals over the years, enjoying podium finishes in many of them. He has 400m gold and 4x4 bronze at the World Indoor Championships, World Athletics Championship 4x4 gold and 200 bronze, three Commonwealth Games gold medals, two Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games titles, and Pan American Games medals.
The Richards resume is quite impressive, and he is keen to update it next year with an Olympic entry. To give himself the best possible chance of success at Paris 2024, the Point Fortin sprinter may skip the 2023 Pan Am Games, scheduled for October 20 to November 5 in Santiago, Chile.
"It might be a little too late," Richards told the Express, "going into an Olympic build-up. I do want to defend my world indoor title next year, please God, and I would have a very long indoor season, maybe three or four meets, then head to the World Indoors which is a very tough schedule - two 400s in a day and the final the next day, and hopefully we'll have a 4x4 there so also a 4x4 final.
"Pan Am Games," he continued, "might not be possible for me. I have every single medal that an athlete from Trinidad and Tobago could have except for an Olympic medal, and that is definitely my goal. I don't know what event it's going to come in; maybe the 400, maybe the 200, but I need an Olympic medal."
Richards chose the one-lap for World Champs. The decision proved to be inspired. Though preparations were severely hampered by a foot injury, sustained on July 30 at the NGC NAAATT National Open Championships, he produced the third fastest 400 of his career in his Budapest 23 semi-final.
Richards' World Champs showing boosted his confidence in what he describes as his "secondary event".
"It definitely does. I wish I had documented some of the things I had to do in the past two weeks. I had literally no running at all. I had pain under my foot even in the pool. My first day doing runs when we got here, I had pain underneath my foot, and now I'm blessed to say I am able to run without any pain. It was definitely a journey."
Richards is part of the men's 4x400m relay squad here in Budapest. Also listed for duty are veteran quarter-miler Renny Quow, Asa Guevara, Joshua St Clair and 20-year-old Shakeem McKay. The 4x4 heats will be contested on Saturday.