National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago

media_artricles :: 2017

 

Boldon backs Richardsí pro decision

Gyasi Merrique :: Trinidad Guardian :: 16.09.2017

Former world champion Ato Boldon is in full support of Jereem Richards' decision to turn professional after he signed a deal with global sports wear giants Adidas. The sprinter will also give up his final year of eligibility as an athlete at the University of Alabama, USA.

Boldon, the 1995 World Championship 100m bronze medallist told Guardian Media Sports that Richards would have had to decide whether to go back to school and 'deal with being broke like most collegiate athletes' or to capitalise on the notoriety earned in a breakthrough year in his athletics career where he won bronze in the men's 200 metres final at the IAAF World Championships in London and gold in T&T's run in the men's 4x400 metres relay event.

Richards, who is in the final semester before he is expected to graduate with a degree in Human Environmental Sciences, will decline eligibility to compete for Alabama, also called the Crimson Tide, for one more year.

While the details of the contract remain undisclosed, Boldon speculated that it would be at least three years, guaranteeing the athlete income for that period and explained why he calls the move brilliant.

"This is called betting on yourself. Jereem has bet on himself and said I know what I am capable of doing in the next ten years and this is the time to make the decision, because next year there is no World Championships and no Olympics. It's really a case of striking while the iron is hot because if Jereem does not have the type of season like he did this year, his value would drop and there would be no contract on offer."

Boldon also praised Richards' choice of endorsement having himself been contracted to Adidas for most of his professional career.

"I was very happy to see that he signed with Adidas because I know the people that run that organisation and I know that they genuinely care about not just Jereem the athlete but Jereem the person. I know that they will take care of him. I have very high hopes for Jereem's future and I think he is the next big T&T star sprinter quite frankly," said Boldon.

Meanwhile, Richards who has since returned to school in Alabama last month, spoke of having to re-adjust following the World Championships. He said: "I had to let the hype go away because I am still a student and I still have to do my work to make sure I graduate. I was congratulated by some of the students and my teachers, even though track and field isn't a dominant sport here, a lot of people still recognise that something big was done by a student of the university."


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Boldon backs Richardsí pro decision
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Former world champion Ato Boldon is in full support of Jereem Richards' decision to turn professional after he signed a deal with global sports wear giants Adidas

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