GRENADA – Kirani James has made his way onto the international stage about as quickly has he finishes a 400m race. The 19-year-old Grenadian (and former University of Alabama star) has seized the spotlight, particularly in Grenada, where he was honoured last night as the country’s male sportsman of the year – as the reigning world champion in the 400m (he was the youngest person ever to do so). After a stellar season in the Diamond League, James is beginning his preparation for the Olympics this summer, where the eyes of the Caribbean — and the world — will be on him. To learn more, Caribbean Journal talked to James about his national award (and the recent creation of Kirani James Boulevard in the city of St George’s) and looking ahead to London.
What does it mean for you to win these awards?
i mean it’s an honour — it’s always good for the country to recognize your achievements and your hard work so far. So it’s humbling for me, to stand here and receive this award.
What did it feel like to have a street named after you?
Like I said, everything bestowed upon me is an honour. All I’m focused on doing is running fast, and turning left — and representing Grenada. But all the other stuff, I have no control over it. But I’m just honoured to have something bestowed upon me.
How is your training going for the Olympics?
Training is going good. I have my first meet Feb. 5 in Boston, so I’ll get over there, see where I’m at, and see if I have to make any adjustments in training.
What is the biggest challenge in preparing for London?
Just staying focused – staying grounded — not taking any athletes or anything for granted — and not underestimating anybody.
What is your ultimate goal for the Olympics?
Just to run fast – and that I represented my country to the fullest of my ability. That’s the main goal and anything that comes after that and is positive, I’m happy with that.