COMMONWEALTH GAMES 200-metre gold medallist Jereem Richards intends to focus more on the quarter-mile distance during the 2019 track and field season. Richards clocked a time of 20.43 seconds to win the men’s half-lap at the Louisiana State University (LSU) Invitational, in Louisiana, United States over the weekend.

Earlier this month, at the LSU Invitational Battle, Richards copped gold in the 400m in 46.15 seconds.“I want to focus a little bit more on the 400 metres,” said Richards recently. “Because of 2018 being such of an early year in terms of when competition was, I didn’t really get much time to run a lot of 400 metres and I just had to stick to the 200 metres.” The 25-year-old continued, “My 400 metres suffered a little bit because of that. Seeing it’s such a long year this year, I want to focus on the 400 a little bit more and, in turn, that will help me to run a faster 200 time going into the World Championship, the Diamond League and all other meets that I have this year.”

The highlight for Richards in 2018 was his Commonwealth Games performance, at the Gold Coast, Australia, when he earned gold after Anguilla-born Englishman Zharnel Hughes was disqualified for an infringement. Richards said, “It was a really great experience. It was always my goal to win. I didn’t win the way I wanted to win but it’s a win nonetheless. I want to thank God for that because, through Christ, I can do anything, and that’s where I get my strength.“So I want to thank God for giving me the courage, the energy and the will to fight through a tough race.”

This is the penultimate year before the Olympics and Richards pointed out, “I’m really looking forward to the Olympics. I’m taking it one step at a time but, at the same time, (my) performance this year will definitely be impactful on how (I) perform for the Olympics.“So I’m looking forward to a good 2019 season and let it spill over to the Olympic year.” In January, Richards proposed to his longtime girlfriend Kayja Thomson.“I have no plans on (a date) or anything like that as yet, but it was a step that I believe I was ready to take, to become engaged, and I took that step,” he said.