By Gary Smith, World-Track
BRESSANONE, Italy — Grenada’s rising star Kirani James says he is thrilled at being mentioned as the same quality as Jamaican sprint marvel Usain Bolt, but wants to write his own history.
James struck the eyes of the leading analysts at the World Youth in Bressanone with only his very first performance.
And by the time he won the 400m half-way at the championships, the Grenadian was already being compared to Bolt, who also had a fruitful Youth and Junior career before transferring the same form at the senior level.
But while being honoured to be labelled "as the next Usain Bolt," James will only be satisfied if he can create his own landmarks.
"It is an honour for me to be compared to Usain Bolt, but I want to write my own history," said James, who ran a faster time than Bolt’s best over the 400m at the same age.
"I am proud to come from the Caribbean because we don’t have many resources.
"Bressanone is too cold for me and I still have to get used to the altitude," he mentioned in reference to the change in conditions. "I would like to come back and ski."
As expected, James was one of the stars at the World Youth Championships that concluded on Sunday.
After running six rounds of races, the 16-year-old was rewarded with two gold medals and two personal best, in addition to his championships record.
He won the 400m on Friday with a championship best of 45.24secs and retuned Sunday evening to complete the 200 and 400m double with a personal best run of 21.05seconds over the half-lap.
James was hoping to get close to Bolt’s event record of 20.40secs, but although he was distance away from the mark, he was delighted to with his performance.
"I am thrilled and happy. I did my best," a tired James said after the race.
"I don’t have a role model although Michael Johnson was a great athlete."
So proud of this youngster….he’s raw talent with very little professional training and resources…a true gem!! I wish him only good things to come.