Mon | May 22, 2017

Richards aims for 22m mark

Published:Sunday | September 13, 2015 | 9:00 AM

BRUSSELS, Belgium:

O'Dayne Richards could have been excused if he had bounced through the mixed zone after his 21.37m second-place finish in the shot put at the AG Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meet in Brussels on Friday.

It was his highest-ever finish at a Diamond League meet, his best distance outside of a championships, and it came just over two weeks after his historic bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.

The thing is, Richards is not easily satisfied, and despite posting what was his fourth-best mark in his career following his two 21.69m national-record efforts first registered at the Pan American Games and again in Beijing, as well as last year's Commonwealth Games-winning 21.61m mark, what he really wanted in Brussels was another milestone - a 22-metre throw.

"I hold myself to high standards, and I think that is the cause of my improvements somewhat, and I am slightly disappointed that I have not yet hit the 22m mark, but there is one more meet for me, so, I have hopes, and I will give it my best," said Richards, who is expecting to compete in Berlin shortly.

It's quite a coincidence, but just 22 men have thrown 22m or better in the long history of the event.

Richards is desperate to add his name to the list and confirm himself as a true heavyweight in the event.

"I kept missing the shot, not applying all the force on the shot, so it kept slipping and didn't go as far as I wanted it to go, but it's my best performance outside of a championships, so I'm happy for that," added Richards. "If I could find the words to tell you what it would mean to me if I threw 22m, I would, but I can't find the words. It's more about improving on myself, though."

Still, the 26-year-old said he is happy with his season after what was a rough start, and is looking to do better in the coming year.

"It was a rough season. We did some things which, in my opinion, we could have done better, but we cut our losses and tried to push forward just the same. I'm grateful for the medal and the personal best and, hopefully, I could get the gold medal," said Richards. "I have the ability to throw far and to win medals at major championships and to perform well continuously, and I'm grateful for that. Hopefully, next year will be a lot better.

"Every time you get to rumble with the big boys, it's a test for the championships. So far, God has been good, and I have been able to cop a medal at the championships that I have competed in. Hopefully, I can turn that into a habit and improve - that's what is most important to me," Richards added.