Ace Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Jereem Richards saw his hopes of making the final for the men's 400m event at the ongoing World Championships in Budapest dashed on Tuesday when he finished 4th in semifinal one in 44.76 seconds.
Running out of lane four, Richards started the race powerfully and looked to be in contention for a top two finish and automatic qualification, through the first 300m.
However, he faded badly as he tried to keep tabs on the eventual semifinal winner, Jamaican Antonio Watson (44.13 seconds), and he was overtaken on the straightaway by USA's Vernon Norwood (44.26 seconds) and South Africa's world record holder Wayde Van Niekerk (44.65 seconds).
Both Watson and Norwood both clocked their personal best times en route to the final, while Van Niekerk also advanced as one of the fastest losers through the three semifinals.
Richards would consider himself unfortunate not to be vying for a medal in Thursday's final as his time was faster than Jamaican Sean Bailey, one of the automatic qualifiers in semifinal three.
In a social media post on Tuesday, Richards said he left it all on the track after a difficult build-up towards the championships.
In all things, give thanks and praise to God, he said. "Although I exerted maximum effort, it fell short today."
Richards said he was in a race to recovery after injuring his foot at the National Championships in July.
"These past three weeks have been challenging. During the National Championships in the 200m event, I unfortunately suffered a torn plantar fasciitis and had to make the difficult decision of not participating in the finals. It was truly disheartening since one of the main reasons I cherish running in the National Championships is to compete for the fans, especially my beloved family and friends.
Over the course of two long weeks, I engaged in pool workouts, mat runs and cycling to maintain my fitness. I am grateful for the exceptional medical support system that helped me navigate through this arduous journey. Special thanks to Dr Anyl Gopeesingh, Shaun Kettle, Alban, Nicole, Keston Bledman, Lance Brauman and Jerrica."""
Richards said it was only by the grace of God that he was able to compete in Hungary.
I extend my sincere gratitude to everyone who supported and prayed for me - I deeply appreciate your unwavering support. I will strive to continue giving my best to bring pride to TT.
Richards will switch his focus to the men's 4x400m relay event where he will lead a squad including Asa Guevara, Shakeem Mc Kay, Renny Quow and Joshua St Clair.