Grenada celebrates Kirani’s gold
By Miranda La Rose Wednesday, August 8 2012
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Golden delight: Kirani James bites on his gold medal at Olympic Stadium, London yesterday after receiving the precious prize for winning the men's 400...
The Grenadian government is working with a committee established to recognise outstanding sportsmen and sportswomen to “deservingly award” its first Olympic medallist, Kirani James, winner of the 400 metres men’s race in the London Olympics.
Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas told Newsday yesterday that a place, the Kirani Boulevard in St George, Grenada’s capital city, has already been named in honour of the 19-year- old track athlete after he won the 400 metres men’s race at the IAAF World Championships in South Korea in 2011.
James on Monday out sprinted two other Caribbean nationals, Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, who came in second and claimed the silver, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Lalonde Gordon, who came in third and copped the bronze, to win the race and take the gold.
James received the coveted gold medal in London yesterday, even as Grenadians travelled to the west coast fishing village of Gouyave, in Grenada, his birthplace where a rally was held, followed by a “street jam.”
After consultations with the Governor General on Monday evening, Thomas said the government declared the half-day holiday to allow for citizens to celebrate the achievement with James’ parents Annie James and Jurani Marshall, siblings, relatives and residents of Gouyave.
Thomas was due to address the gathering.
Following his win, Thomas said he spoke with James “to let him know how happy we are about his achievement.”
James’ reply was, “I did my best.”
On the Grenada National Olympics Team Facebook page, a picture was posted of James and his parents. The caption noted that during the ceremony in Gouyave, his parents asked that the moderator inform the public that five companies offered to fund their trip to the Olympics in London, however, they declined the offer as they wished to watch and cheer on their son with the people of Gouyave.
After James’ victory, residents of Gouyave danced through the tiny town, known to tourists for its ‘Fish Fridays.’ Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, Richard Simon said jubilation erupted across Grenada and people partied through Monday night. Yesterday’s “street jam” was due to end at midnight. In Gouyave, people waved flags, branches and danced through the streets beating pans and drums and DJs blared music from stereo sets.
Meanwhile, Grenada’s Tourism Minister, Dr George Vincent, who is acting Minister of Sports in the absence of the substantive minister — currently in England at the London Olympics — told Newsday that James win has put Grenada on the map.”
“Kirani, by his humility and his actions,” Vincent said, “has told everyone who has looked at the Olympics that there is a very beautiful island in the south of the Caribbean Sea that is called Grenada.”
“We cannot pay for that advertisement for our tourism product,” Vincent said.
Last night’s activity, Vincent said, was the unofficial start of Grenada’s carnival season which will culminate next weekend.
Already, he said a number of calypsos have been released in Grenada in honour of James’ feat at the World Championships, and some were now being sung about his latest victory at the Olympics.
Asked when James, a student of Alabama State University in the US, will be in Grenada, Vincent could not say, but a date will be planned.