Mon | Dec 17, 2018

Rest important Down Under - Sandie Richards

Published:Monday | April 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/ Gleaner Writer
In this file photo from March 11, 2001, Jamaica’s Sandie Richards (centre) breaks clear of Russia’s Olga Kotlyarova (left) to win the gold medal in the women’s 400m at the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships in Lisbon, Portugal.

Speaking from experience, Jamaica's 1998 Commonwealth Games 400m champion Sandie Richards said rest will be key to high performances at the 2018 Games currently under way on Australia's Gold Coast. Richards said rest and massage therapy will help athletes cope with the time change experienced when visiting Australia.

Asked for advice for the ladies who will run the 400m for Jamaica at the Games, the Texas-based Richards said it is possible to overcome the ill effects of the 15-hour time difference between Kingston and the Gold Coast. "The first two days, it's hard to get your body back, but I'm sure they went down there with enough time," she said. "But you know, anywhere you go, there's a time change and everybody is in the same time change if you're not from Australia, so it shouldn't matter.

"If you get massages, and you know, a lot of sleep, you should be okay," she concluded.

Richards trained in Australia many times with her friendly rival Cathy Freeman.




She describes her victory 20 years ago in Kuala Lumpur, as one of the highlights of her career. Glowing with patriotic fervour, she recalled, "I didn't know if I was going to win, but I went down, because I always want to win when I step on the track in my Jamaican colours."

The 1998 Commonwealth Games final was evenly contested between the Jamaican, Allison Curbishley of Scotland, and Donna Fraser of England for the first 300m. "In the last home stretch," Richards reminisced, "I knew I was stronger than those two so when I won, everyone cheered, the entire stadium, for me, so I felt welcome there."

Four years earlier, she took the bronze medal to become the first Jamaican to place in the top three since Marilyn Neufville triumphed in 1970. She ascended to the top step of the podium with a Games record time of 50.17 seconds. "Of course, it's one of the highlights of my career, because winning the Commonwealth Games, you can't ask for more than that", she said.

The stout-hearted Richards, who won the 1993 IAAF World Indoor Championships gold medal and the IAAF World Championship silver medal in 1997, came back to win a Commonwealth bronze in Manchester in 2002.