Focused on improvement - Richards confident after season best throw at All Comers meet
O'Dayne Richards, Jamaica's leading shot putter, held centre stage at the JAAA All-Comers meet staged inside the National Stadium last Saturday with his best throw of the season, 21.15 metres.
For Richards, the 2015 World Championships bronze medal winner, it was a step towards his distance goal of 22 metres. He shared the spotlight with MVP Track Club teammate Janieve Russell, who won the women's 400 metre hurdles.
A trim looking Richards improved on his previous 2017 best of 20.74m. When the shot put action was over, he spoke optimistically about the future.
"Last year, I had a couple setbacks with injuries which, trust me, taught me how to fight", he said of a 2016 season, where he had to recover from knee surgery.
"It taught me how to fight and I'm still fighting but a little bit wiser now and hopefully this year will be better performances," shared the reigning Commonwealth and Pan-Am champion.
The holder of the national record at 21.69 metres has set his sights on longer throws and with that in mind, he wants to be consistent in the 21 metre range.
"21 is the new 20 so the target is 22", he explained.
Noting that the US pair of Olympic champion Ryan Crouser and World champion Joe Kovacs along with New Zealand's Tom Walsh are top class, Richards said, "It's exciting to compete against them but O'Dayne Richards needs 22, I need 22 metres as well and I'm focusing on that."
Crouser has the longest throw in the world so far this year at 22.15 metres.
Russell, an Olympic finalist in 2016, kept training partner Nikita Tracey at bay with a solid run of 55.38 seconds in the 400 metre hurdles. With the hurdles out of the way, Anastasia Le-Roy, the Commonwealth Games 4x400 metres gold medallist, held off Jamaica Inter-Collegiate winner Verone Chambers in the flat 400 metres in 51.75 seconds. Leroy took charge early and fought off all challengers to grab an encouraging win.