Richards aims high
It's not often that you see a Jamaican thrower on the international circuit, but given his pedigree, that's becoming more of a common occurrence because of the emergence of ever-improving shot put man, O'Dayne Richards.
Richards, who has improved from a best of 19.93m in 2011 to last year's Commonwealth Games and national record 21.61m gold-medal-winning mark, has certainly held his own among the world's best throwers and has grown in ambition over the years.
Those ambitions include a starring role at this August's IAAF World Championships, leading the next generation of great throwers and inspiring a cultural shift where the throws are concerned in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region.
"The first goal is to achieve the 22m mark, so that is one of my ambitions. I want to get a lot more powerful and efficient in my training so that my conditioning will put me in a position to throw that far," Richard said.
The MVP Track Club man will today make his first appearance at the Doha Diamond League, where he will come face to face with heavyweights Reese Hoffa, David Storl, Joe Kovacs, and Ryan Whiting, with the first objective being to execute a good series and get over the 21m mark for the first time this season.
'in decent shape'
"I'm not in the best shape I will be in for the year, but I'm still in a decent shape," Richards said. "The first objective is to try and execute as if it was the World Championships final to get as many practices in with these guys at that calibre for that event so that on the day, I will be well prepared and with enough to do well."
"The major aim for each year is to surpass where I was before. I was trying to get over 21m before the Jamaica Invitational because that was my first time over 21m last year. Unfortunately, the Jamaica Invitational fell on a week when the training load was pretty heavy and I think that impacted my performance. This meet is to try and get as close as possible to the 21.11m that I did last year, or to surpass it," Richards told The Gleaner.