…opens season with windy 200 win

The 2014 season was a mixed bag for Richard “Torpedo” Thompson.

In June, at the Trinidad and Tobago Championships, Thompson produced a 9.82 seconds national record run to capture the 100 metres title. Three weeks earlier, he had clocked a wind-assisted 9.74 at a meet in Florida, USA.

The 9.82 sizzler put the T&T track star in pole position ahead of the July 23-August 3 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. However, he was unable to live up to his status as favourite for the 100m title, bowing out of the event after finishing third in his semi-final heat in 10.19 seconds.

Thompson told the Express fatigue was responsible for his sub-par performance.

“My body was just tired, to be honest. People asked if I was injured or if something happened, but that wasn’t the case. The road back to healthy started in early September 2013, and it really took a lot out of me physically, mentally and emotionally, getting back to the times I got down to. When we got to late July and beyond, my body was fried.”

After a disappointing 2013 campaign that was hampered by a painful hip injury, Thompson put his body through an arduous 2014 season. Not since his final year on the US collegiate circuit, in 2008, had Thompson raced as much as he did last year.

“I proved in 2014 that I can run very fast again. What’s important though is doing it at the right time. I want to run fast on the circuit, and I want to be the national champion, but far more significant than that is being a medallist in Beijing.”

Thompson is planning to be in Beijing for the August 22-30 IAAF World Championships. He has fond memories of the Chinese city, having earned silver medals in the 100m and 4x100m events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Thompson is also eyeing the July 10-26 Pan Am Games, in Toronto, Canada.

“I’d like to be a part of the Pan Am team. I’ve never run in Toronto before, and I have a lot of family there. Even if it’s just on the relay team, I’d like to do it. That will give us a chance to work together and perfect our exchanges for Beijing.”

The 29-year-old sprinter said he is satisfied with his build-up to the 2015 season.

“Preparations have been good so far. I’m thankful to be healthy and not to have to dig myself out of a hole, as I did last year coming into the season. I’m in a much more relaxed state, physically and mentally, than I was at this time last year, so there’s less emotional stress.

“Also,” Thompson continued, “we don’t have to run as many races trying to familiarise my legs with sprinting at that high level again. We can plan the season better so that the right races come at the right time.”

Thompson opened his 2015 campaign on Saturday, at the Louisiana State University (LSU) Battle on the Bayou meet, in Louisiana, USA. He won the men’s 200m event, the triple Olympic medallist clocking a wind-assisted 20.81 seconds. Another T&T sprinter, Shermund Allsop was sixth fastest in a windy 21.87.

“I haven’t yet confirmed my first professional outdoor meet,” Thompson explained. “That circuit usually starts in May, so I will be using some of the smaller meets at LSU in April to get ready for the big ones.”