For Kirani James, a Hero’s Welcome

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - August 31, 2012

Above (from left): Annie James, Governor General Sir Carlyle Glean, Prime Minister Tillman Thomas and Kirani James

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Kirani James returned home to Grenada Thursday night as an Olympic champion and a national hero.

James made his first visit to Grenada since besting the field at the men’s 400-metre race in London, greeted by an official party in St George’s after arriving at Maurice Bishop International Airport on a chartered flight from Barbados.

“It’s very humbling to see everybody here,” he said. “I just want it to be a weekend of celebration and nothing else.”

The new global sprinting star, who will turn 20 years old on Saturday, was celebrated by the Royal Grenada Police Force Band and contingent from Republic Bank Angel Harps Steel Orchestra.

James was met by Grenada Sports Minister Patrick Simmons, Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, Governor General Sir Carlyle Glean, Opposition Leader Keith Mitchell and other officials.

He was also received by his mother, Annie James, his father, Jurani Marshall, and other relatives from Gouyave, St John.

Of course, the biggest reception came from Grenadians, who numbered in the thousands to meet their newest national icon.

James’ gold, the first-ever medal of any kind for Grenada, was also the first-ever gold medal won by a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

Grenada will launch a youth motivational programme in honour of James on Saturday in the village of Gun Battle.

James, nicknamed “The Jaguar,” recently appeared in a new ad campaign for Nike’s Sportswear Pinnacle Collection.

He was already honoured by a street in St George’s, Kirani James Boulevard, following his victory in the World Championships in 2011.

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