A test of patience - Richards
Jamaican shot put athlete, O'Dayne Richards, says his struggles to find form following a leg surgery in March is proving to be a test of patience after another disappointing series on Friday night's opening day of action at the two-day Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon.
Richards, the bronze medal winner from last year's IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, fouled on his first effort before landing the implement at 19.09 metres and 18.30m in his remaining throws - his lowest marks since August 2013.
The event was won by world champion Joe Kovacs (USA), who recorded a world leading 21.13m ahead of New Zealand's Tom Walsh, 20.84m and veteran American Reese Hoffa, 20.58m.
This was Richards' second straight letdown in the ring, after a 19.22m throw at the Shanghai Diamond League meet earlier this month.
Perhaps that is to be expected considering that it's been just over two months since a metal rod was fitted through his knee and into his shin, after a surgery to correct a stress fracture.
"I started off slow again," he lamented after his event at Hayward Field. "I was a little bit cautious, but in terms of my health, I feel good, but I probably need a few more throws - well a lot more throws, but it will come.
"It's really testing my patience and I guess it's a learning process as well, but I am trying," added Richards, before admitting that his surgery is still playing on his mind.
"It doesn't go away or well for me it doesn't go away, there is a constant reminder. There is a mark there that reminds me that it happened and it's just taking a little bit more time for me to get mentally and physically tough enough to get over that hurdle," said Richards.
"I've never been in this bad a shape at this time of the year, but there is some time. There is time to do a lot more work and I am trying to stay positive and see how well I can do this year," he added.
"As it relates to the series, the first throw was a little bit cautious, but I didn't hit the shot as well as I wanted to. For the second shot I decided I would try to do that a little better and I got a little improvement and on the third throw I said I would give it my all and then go as fast as I can. I went as fast as I could, but I didn't hit the shot well, I was backing off and not pushing the shot and it cost me some distance," he explained.
Richards and his team have not decided on his next event so far, with the athlete looking forward to pushing on in training and getting things right in time for the upcoming Olympic trials.