As Point Fortin celebrated their son of the soil with a grand street procession and the keys to the borough, the double World Championships medallist Jereem Richards had one wish—the completion of the long awaited Mahaica Oval.
Accompanied by a music truck, Mayor Abdon Mason and MP Edmund Dillon joined scores of people who proudly celebrated Richards and his relay team Machel Cedenio, who is also from Point Fortin, Jarrin Solomon and Lalonde Richards in capturing gold in the 4x400 men’s metres relay last Sunday in London.
Richards brought home a bronze medal in the 200 metres final.
Mason said: “Today we decided that we will be celebrating our heroes. We are also recognising a Kashief King, a member of the under 20 4x400 gold medal winning team from the Junior Carifta Games that ran off earlier this year, all from Point Fortin. Today we are recognising and celebrating excellence.”
The mayor said they would identify appropriate streets, in consultation with Richards and Cedenio, to determine the ones to be named in their honour.
Mason said they would continue to honour the athletes by using them as an example to the young people.
“I have said it over and over again, Trinidad and Tobago is going to transform into a place of positivity but the positive changes in Trinidad and Tobago will begin in Point Fortin,” he said.
Saying that it was a great feeling to be recognised by his own town, Richards said it was an honour to be part of greatness and represent T&T and Point Fortin in international events.
Reflecting the challenges he faced training in Point Fortin, he said: “I would love to see Mahaica Oval finished and give athletes somewhere to train.
“For me, training in Point Fortin sometimes was hard because when it rains it is hard to train and I know the struggles athletes will have to go through and I think with having the oval it would be a great opportunity to have the access to train and the facilities.”
King, 19, of Guapo also has his eyes set at capturing gold at the world championships.
“This is just a small step in my book to get out there,” he said.
MP Edmund Dillon chimed in saying that the entire contingent of athletes had done the country proud.
“At the end of the day it is not just those who have won the gold medals that we have to celebrate but those who have given out an effort and qualified to be part of the game,” he said.
Dillon said: “Just as the relay team worked together as a team it suggests that we in T&T can also work together as a team to achieve gold in other areas.
“In my area, we can work together to look in the area of crime for instance, let us come together as a team, just like the relay team, passing the baton and working together in co-ordination, let us work together in co-ordination with a sense of community spirit and deal with the other issues in T&T.”
With regards to the Mahaica oval which was promised eight years ago, he said this year the Government budgeted for two areas—Diego Martin and Point Fortin.
“So Point Fortin is due to kick off next year, as early as January you will see some measures being taken at the Mahaica Oval and then the Civic Centre.”