The 9.82 seconds scorcher produced by Richard “Torpedo” Thompson was the big story at the NGC/Sagicor National Open Track & Field Championships, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, two weekends ago.
But there were many sub-plots, including Darrel Brown’s return to form. The former world junior champion got home in 10.05 seconds in the men’s 100 metres final to finish third, behind Thompson--the winner in his 9.82 national record and world-leading time--and silver medallist Keston Bledman, who clocked 10 seconds flat.
“I’m elated,” Thompson told the Express, after the race, “because Darrel is someone...I actually sat in the stands, as a boy, and watched him run, and cheered for him, and got in arguments in the stands over him. It is good to be running against Darrel, who I consider one of my idols. I know he’s been through rougher times than any one of us with his injuries, so it’s good to see him at 10.05 again, qualifying individually (for the Commonwealth Games). I know he’s over the moon. His family, they’ve been very supportive and have been behind him, so I know they’re just as happy as he is.”
With track legend Usain Bolt and his fellow-Jamaican, former 100m world champion Yohan Blake opting out of the individual events at the July 23-August 3 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, Thompson is the early favourite for 100m gold.
“I have to produce those times against the people that matter. They’re going to be bringing their ‘A’ game, and I can’t become lackadaisical. I can’t be content with 9.82. I need to go back to the drawing board, working even harder than before, even smarter than before, and I think I stand a good chance of being on the podium if I can run like I did today.”
Thompson’s one-year-old son, Rhys, witnessed his father’s 9.82 sizzler at the T&T Championships.
“It feels great. I brought him out onto the track with me, had him wave to the fans. I’m getting him in the process of being a champion himself and seeing what it’s like, so hopefully he’ll be running some day...a junior ‘Torpedo’,” said a laughing Thompson. “If not, doing something great as well.”