BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Jereem Richards is in the midst of a difficult year yet the Trinidad and Tobago sprinter continues to be an inspiration on the athletics track.
Richards successfully defended his Commonwealth Games 200 meters crown in Birmingham on Saturday night in 19.80 seconds.
A finalist at the Tokyo Olympics, he seized control from the start and set a Commonwealth Games record.
He defeated England’s Zharnel Hughes by 0.38 seconds. Ghana’s Joseph Paul Amoah clinched the bronze medal.
It is almost eight months since Richards’ close friend and compatriot Deon Lendore, an Olympic medalist who had been “an inspiration” since he was a boy, died in a car crash in Texas.
Richards vowed to continue Lendore's legacy and devote his racing efforts this season to his memory. His contribution in Birmingham was one to remember.
"This has been a long season and I am just grateful that I have come through,” he said.
Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah added a Commonwealth Games sprinting double to her remarkable deeds in the Olympics with a superb effort.
Thompson-Herah was outsprinted by her compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson in the 100 meters at the world championships in Oregon last month. But the five-time Olympic gold medalist rebounded brilliantly in Birmingham and added the 200 crown to her 100 with a comprehensive victory.
Thompson-Herah, who also completed the sprint double in the Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo Olympics, clocked 22.02 to defeat Favour Ofili by almost half a second. Namibian Christine Mboma claimed the bronze medal.
Fraser-Pryce and Jackson were criticized by Games officials for snubbing the event in preference to athletics events in Europe. Jackson won the 200 at a meeting in Poland earlier on Saturday in 21.84.
Back in Birmingham, Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo added the 5,000 meters gold medal to success earlier in the week in the 10,000 when surging to the line.
Vinesh Phogat was among six India wrestlers to claim gold medals in Birmingham.
Phogat, who won the women’s 53-kilogram division, said her success provided a boost in confidence as she looks towards the Paris Olympics in two years.
"My last year has not been that great. After so much training and doubting myself, this is very important to me,” she said. “This medal will boost my confidence for the next two years, for the Paris Olympics. I'm back.”
India reached the final of the men’s field hockey after defeating South Africa 3-2. Singh Manpreet said they learned from a loss in the semifinals on the Gold Coast in 2018.
“We knew they're going to give us a good fight,” Manpreet said “We were prepared.”
In women’s cricket, Australia will face India in a highly anticipated final after a convincing victory over New Zealand in a semifinal at Edgbaston. India earlier defeated host England by four runs in a thriller.
After the overall gold medal race had tightened the previous day, Australia extended its lead at the top of the standings by winning nine golds on Day 9.
Australia has 59 golds and 155 medals in total, ahead of England in second place (50 golds and 148 medals overall) with two competition days remaining.
India is fifth with 13 gold and 27 minor medals.
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