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Thompson seeks to improve
Olympic medallist Richard Thompson has admitted that his performances on the track over the last two years have not been up to mark.
While he was willing to go on record on the issue, he did not stop there.
Thompson revealed that plans for his resurgence were already in train both for local and international meets. The improvements, he said, would help sustain this country’s credible rankings in the world of athletics.
Thompson ran an impressive time of 10.21 in the 100m to capture gold at the Ponce Grand Prix held at the Francisco “Paquito” Montaner Stadium, in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on May 17.
Before that, he competed at the T&T Elite Twilight Games, where he ran to victory in a time of 10.10.
Yesterday, Thompson alongside teammates Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Darrel Brown and Rondel Sorillo ran in the men’s 4 x 100m at the inaugural IAAF World Relay Championship held at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.
“To be honest, I have not been very consistent at the sub-tens for the past couple of years. I have a lot of improvement to do if I want to compete with (Usain) Bolt. Obviously, I have to improve my training significantly. I went to the Michael Johnson Performance Centre in Dallas on the off season and there were a few exercises that they showed me to strengthen the weakness that they detected. Brian Lewis and the (TT) Olympic Committee were responsible for sending me across. What they do over there, they run you through a series of exercises and they detect your weaknesses and deficiencies. I’ve been able to incorporate that into my programme this year. It’s taking a little while, because I was injured before, but it allowed me to be strong again, to be healthy again and I just have to keep building on it, to where I am stronger than where I was before. I knew there were things that I needed to work on. That was part of the reason I went across there in the first place,” he said.
Thompson added, “Obviously, there is always something to improve on regardless of how fast you are running. I think even someone like Bolt and Yohan Blake and those guys. I still feel like there is something everyone else can correct, whether its strength and speed or improving your technique. To say that I was surprised to find a deficiency, I wasn’t surprised at all. I knew there were things that I needed to correct and improve on. Until someone reaches to the top, I think it’s difficult to say that they can’t improve or can’t develop. So I don’t think there is ever a point where you stop wanting more for yourself. Every athlete who has a personal best, when you talk to them, they will tell you there is something else that they could have done in that race to run a faster time and that there is something else I could do in my training to help me run a faster time.”
Thompson went on to express his view on the development systems he believed were necessary for the growth of track and field in T&T and said locals needed to emulate Jamaica’s passion for the sport.
The neighbouring island, he said, would continue to excel because of their Junior Champs meet held annually which was never bereft top athletes, but of equal importance capacity audiences.
“We need to do something in T&T where we are able have these meets, see who the talented kids are from very young and start working our way up with them. I mean, Darrel, Marc, myself, Bledman, wouldn’t be around forever,” he said.
Thompson cited the accomplishments of young athletes Machel Cedenio and Jonathan Farina and said in order for them to flourish they had to be steered in the right direction, whether it was the people to help them make decisions about what schools they attend abroad or whether they had a serious and sustained development structure at stay home.
If their development thrust was to be home grown, he said, the question related to who would train them arose.
“And who is going to train them not just in track and field, but in many different things: How you deal with the media, how you carry yourself in public. Simple things like that. It’s how you breed superstars and that’s something we definitely have to look at in T&T,” Thompson said.
He tackled the issue of arm chair supporters and said just like there exists a need to nurture a new crop of athletes, developing a hard core fan based should be addressed from infancy.
Thompson said the system where complimentary tickets were distributed to schools to attend meets at the Hasely Crawford National Stadium to witness the performances of athletes in track and field should be promoted and sustained, too.
“I remember going to see Ato run. That got me passionate about track and field. If they don’t know what’s going on, then they have nothing to be passionate about. Get the word out and then we could start building from there,” he said.