Above: Kirani James (Photo: UAB)
By Michael Bascombe
CJ Sport Contributor
World 400 metres champion Kirani James may not compete outdoors until mid-May as the athlete strikes a balance between school and the professional circuit.
The Grenadian quarter-miler, who won gold at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, South Korea last August, had been scheduled to compete in meets during the first two weeks of May.
However, due to final exams during the first 10 days of May, James is unlikely to compete until May 16, at the earliest, according to his agent Renaldo Nehemiah.
“Unlike most of the athletes that are competing, Kirani is still a full-time student at the University of Alabama and we want him to perform equally as well in the classroom,” said Nehemiah, the former World 110m hurdles record-holder.
James will be sitting his final examination May 5, the same day he was scheduled to open his outdoor season and is therefore ruled out of competing at the Jamaica International Invitational Meet in Kingston.
The world champion is currently in Grenada as guest of the Grenada Co-operative Bank, sponsors of the National Primary Schools’ Athletics Championships, where he is expected to present the Kirani James Challenge Trophy to the winner of Thursday’s meet at the National Stadium. He will also participate in a workshop in St George’s on Friday before returning to Alabama on the weekend.
His scheduling requires thorough evaluation so as to avoid any conflicts with his school and contractual arrangements.
Coach Harvey Glance has been adjusting his training schedule around the exams to allow James ample time to study and to perform well on those exams.
“It’s important that Kirani gets to train efficiently without the urgency of the early races, due to his full academic schedule,” Nehemiah said. “Coach Glance doesn’t want to rush his training or cut corners in anyway. He wants Kirani well-rested and well prepared to run at a very high level. And this extra time will allow both to happen.”
James, who won his country’s first medal at the World Championships, suffered a shock defeat at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey earlier this month. He has thrown the disappointment behind him and is already looking forward to the Olympic Games in London this summer.
“We need him at his best and not at a deficit. We are not chasing money,” Nehemiah said.