Double World Championship medallist Jereem Richards, is still beaming with pride after receiving the Chaconia Gold medal on Monday. Richards said it was an honour to get a national award, but TT’s latest star athlete said he will not allow his past achievements make him complacent.

Richards, who recently graduated from the University of Alabama, had a breakthrough year in 2017. At the London World Championships, Richards earned bronze in the men’s 200-metre event, and alongside Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon and Machel Cedenio, won an historic gold in the men’s 4x400m relay event. It was the first time TT won gold in the event at a major international meet.

Richards received Chaconia Gold for the role he played with the relay quartet at the National Awards Ceremony held at Queen’s Hall in St Ann’s, on Monday. Richards was the only member of the 4x400m team to personally collect his award.

Richards said, “Honestly it is a great honour to receive such a prestigious award, not a lot of people in Trinidad and Tobago have the opportunity to collect such an award. To be among the few that got this award, I really feel great and elated. I had the opportunity to speak with the President (Anthony Carmona) and speak with the Prime Minister (Dr Keith Rowley). It is great to see these people that you only see on TV.”

Richards, who signed a professional contract with Adidas in September, said despite his incredible success, he will stay hungry.

“I won’t become complacent. Now I realise this is my job and something I love to do, so I am going to give my heart and soul and put it all out there. This is a job and this is how I am going to make a living, so definitely I need to take it serious and not get caught up.”

Richards recalled advice president of the TT Olympic Committee, Brian Lewis, gave him previously. Richards said Lewis told him to “focus on what is in front of you and not let past achievements reduce your drive.”

“Mr Brian Lewis always told me, and I heard him say more than once, that every time you get to the line the clocks starts at zero. Regardless of what you have done before, every time you come to the line you have to do it again, so it is all about consistency and keeping the focus.”

Richards is aiming for a consistent 2018 as he now has more time after graduating from college.

“2018 for me is just to be consistent and try to do the same things or even better, and improve on myself in the weaker areas. Now that I graduated, I have the ability to put 100 percent into track and field and not having to worry about getting assignments done. I could actually put my heart and soul into it right now and be more focused so I am thankful for that opportunity. 2018, I am just trying to be consistent and make my transition from a collegiate athlete to a professional athlete as soon as possible.”