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Kirani’s rule no surprise


Seibert Straughn

Kirani’s rule no surprise

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I am excited and happy for someone like Kirani James who has come through the system in terms of winning CARIFTA, the World Youth Games, the World Junior Championships and then the World Championships last year.
I am also pleased for a country like Grenada because they would’ve had a lot of challenges from the early 1980s, so it really does a lot for the island.
But I’m certainly not surprised by the victory, as last year he would’ve won the World Championships when LaShawn Merritt was coming off his drug ban and Kirani James was someone who would’ve been successful at the NCAA level.
He went there last year as one of the favourites to win the gold. And it probably was easier for him when LaShawn Merritt pulled out in the first round this year.
I remember telling a friend in Jamaica that if Kirani could just make a slight improvement in terms of the first part of his race then I could see him doing a time between 43.9 and 44.2 seconds because he is a very strong finisher.
Kirani – who became the first non-American to go under 44 seconds – is also very good at the 200 metres as could probably run under 20.5 seconds.
So then his execution was good at the start this time around and then he really picked it up from 150 metres out to come home very strong.
His prospects in this race are great too.
Back in 1988, someone who was also 19 years old in South Korea, Steve Lewis, also won the Olympic title and then came second behind Quincy Watts in Barcelona, so I think the future for him is great.
And what is also key for Kirani is that he spent two years competing for Auburn University as a collegiate athlete and now he is a professional athlete, and he is also now under the care of a former Olympian, Harvey Grant, who would’ve had success at the international level.
So the future is really bright for this young man but it’s all up to good management in terms of the support he gets in Grenada.
However, I am certain they will give him all the necessary backing and put all the systems in place so that he will continue to be on top for years to come.
A lot of people might be surprised that there were no Americans in the final, but in a sport like track and field, things go around in cycles.
Going back to 1984, the Americans swept the 400 metres and in 1988 and 2004 it was a similar occurrence and then the field started to even out again where you’re beginning to see some other athletes from the Caribbean region breaking into the Americans’ stronghold.
I remember watching the American trials and the only outstanding 400 runner was LaShawn Merritt. They had two young guys in the 400 at this year’s Olympics but experience usually counts for a lot at this level.
So I wasn’t really surprised at the absence of Americans in the final because everyone is going to have their particular cycle and when your cycle comes you have to try and dominate that period.
• Seibert Straughn represented Barbados in 400 metres at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics and is chairman of the National Sports Council.

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