When Cayman hosts the CARIFTA Games
over the Easter weekend, of all the talented sprinters on view, one is sure to
stand out from the rest – and he is not from Jamaica.
Kirani James is the tall lanky
Grenadian who at 17 is already attracting a lot of attention because of his
similarities to the young Usain Bolt.
Built similarly to the world double
sprint record holder, James’s career path in large measure resembles that of
the Jamaican double World and Olympic champion.
Currently a freshman at the
University of Alabama, James made an impressive entrance to the Carifta Games
in 2007 when as a gangly 14-year-old he trumped the field in the Under-17 Boys
400 metres in an impressive 47.86 seconds.
That was respectable time for an
adult club athlete! He was clearly marked, even from then, for great things.
James, 18 on 1 September, also took
silver at the 2007 World Youth Championships with an even better time of 46.96secs,
which remains the fastest time ever ran by a 14-year-old.
At the 2008 Championships James
easily defended his 400m title with a time of 47.87secs. As impressive as this
was he would eclipse this with a breezy 21.38s in adding the 200m title to his
He also won the silver medal in the
400m at the World Junior Championships in the incredibly fast time of 45.70secs.
This is the fastest time ever run by a 15-year-old for the event.
In October 2008 he took gold at the
Commonwealth Youth Games in a time of 46.66secs, again a new record for the
At the CARIFTA Games of 2009 James
did the incredible. He blew away Usain Bolt’s Under-20 Men’s 400m record with a
time of 45.5secs, bettering Bolt’s record by nearly a full second. James is destined
for big things.
Later that year he became the first
youth athlete to complete a 200m and 400m double gold at a World Youth Championships.
He also took the 2009 Pan American Junior Championships 400m title with a
clocking of 45.43secs.
Competing in his first ever indoor
track meet for Alabama earlier this year, James ran a 45.79secs in the 400m in
winning the event and breaking the school’s decade old record for the event.
At the Texas A&M Challenge Meet
last month he ran a new indoor personal best 20.94secs in the 200m.
At the 2010 CARIFTA Games many will
wonder if he will run both 200m and 400m. It is not inconceivable that he could
break world records in both if he does.
The 200m record of 19.93secs is
currently held by Bolt set at the 2004 Games in Bermuda.
The Cayman public at the Truman
Bodden Sports Complex should not miss the unique chance of watching this extraordinarily