James runs world-leading 400m time

James+runs+world-leading+400m+time

Tony Tsoukalas

Fresh off being named Sportsman of the Year in his native country of Grenada, Kirani James posted a world-leading 400-meter time at the Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind., over the weekend.

James’ time of 45.79 is so fast that at that pace, he would be able to run the length of his native island in less than an hour and five minutes.

Despite all of his accomplishments, James said the only thing he is focusing on is the next race.

“That time don’t mean nothing to me, because later in the season all the guys, even me, might run faster,” James said. “I am just going to go out and try to improve on my time.”

In the last 10 days, he has set a world-leading time, been named sportsman of the year of his country and most recently was named SEC Runner of the Week.

“It is a big honor to see how people recognize the things I have accomplished so far,” he said.

The Meyo Invitational gave the Crimson Tide its first glimpse of what James can do against competition since he enrolled to the University in January. Head coach Harvey Glance said he likes what he sees in James and that he expects the freshman to continue to succeed in the future.

“The number one thing he has going for him is he has this focus to be the very best he can be,” Glance said. “He also has a confidence in his ability, and he keeps everything pretty simple.”

James was a big name coming out of high school, and it did not take long for colleges to start taking notice of him.

“Everybody knew the name,” Glance said. “He was very recognizable. You didn’t have to go farther than the Internet to see what he was doing internationally. He was a World Youth Champion, and anytime you get that kind of accolade, everyone knows who you are.”

During the recruiting process, Glance traveled to Grenada, where he met with James and his family to talk about the possibility of James running for Alabama.

“It was a decision that was going to be made by him and his parents, I knew that from the start,” Glance said. “It was very fortunate in Alabama’s favor that his parents like me, and more importantly Kirani liked me.”

For James, the decision to come to Alabama came down to the sense of comfort he felt with the team and especially Glance.

“I visited three schools, [Alabama], South Carolina and Florida State, and I chose here because I feel comfortable here,” James said. “I think me and coach have great chemistry and me and the teammates get along pretty well. There is no envy or anything on this team, so that’s why I like it.”

Glance, a gold medal winner, said when he looks at James, he sees a lot of himself, both on and off the track.

“He is a very humble athlete, and he shows class,” Glance said. “That is the way I was as an athlete. Before the race, he shakes everyone’s hand, and then as the race unfolds, he goes out and competes to the best of his ability and congratulates every performer after the race.”

James will compete this weekend at the Texas A&M Challenge in College Station, Texas, where he will be running the 200m against the nation’s second and third fastest sprinters.

“I am just going to go out there and work on my speed and try to run the turns fast because it is a small track,” James said.