Kirani James/Photo Credit: M Bascombe

Kirani James/Photo Credit: M Bascombe

Commentary by Michael Bascombe

I remain steadfast that KIRANI JAMES has done what no other sportsman, administrator, minister, prime minister, government, national, citizen, ambassador, or whoever have done for GRENADA. Apart from gold medals at the World Championships in Athletics, Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games; Kirani has also won the hearts of his nation.

Kirani is our own and he needs to be cherished, congratulated, honoured and encouraged so that other Grenadians could be inspired to do likewise.

There has been an ongoing discussion on Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 victory in Abu Dhabi where he became the first British driver in more than four decades to win the championship twice. Congratulations are in order for Mr Lewis and his accolades but we must not politicise the discussion on what such achievement means to Grenada.

Hamilton’s base and constituents are different from that of Kirani and the other sporting and cultural ambassadors of Grenada.

On Monday November 17, 2014 the Caribbean Sports Journalists’ Association (CASJA) named Kirani James as its Caribbean Sportsman of the Year 2014. The final choice was made by a panel consisting of Shaka Hislop and Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago, Tonique Williams of the Bahamas, Terry Finisterre of St Lucia, Vernon Springer of St Kitts and Nevis and Kayon Raynor of Jamaica. A panel of non-Grenadians considered the nominees and agreed that Kirani was the most outstanding sportsman in 2014.

I can’t recall any outpouring of congratulations to Kirani on his mounting achievements. However, within hours of Hamilton’s victory at Formula 1 racing there was an official media statement from the State.

As is customary, the Minister made the correct gesture in extending congratulations. But why it took a week or the public outcry to recognise Kirani’s achievement? Is someone selectively writing on behalf of the Minister without her consent? I would hate to believe that the Minister won’t acknowledge the achievement of Kirani James. The Minister is young, energetic and appears passionate.

When Kirani won the gold at the World Championships in Daegu in 2011 and there was an absent of the national flag it became the story rather than his sensational victory. On Sunday, Mr Hamilton raced around with a British flag and some of the same critics of the 2011 mishap apparently were caught up in the euphoria. I joined in congratulating Hamilton as I would do if Serena Williams was to win Wimbledon or the US Open.

However, Kirani doesn’t miss an opportunity to talk about Grenada and its people. It doesn’t matter whether you are a born or naturalised Grenadian but it matters what you’re doing for Grenada.

Jason Roberts is UK-born but chose to represent Grenada and still promotes Grenada in words and deeds. His Foundation is a living testimony.

The signage, which is still evident of Grenada’s appreciation to Kirani James and Alleyne Francique (following the national rally and announcements on September 1, 2012), was vandalised and remained in a state of disrepair for months. Kirani James’ Day (September 1) in 2013 and 2014 went virtually unnoticed.

I can go on to tell similar stories about Tallpree and Killa who have been singing to sell-out audiences around the region over the past few months.

I’m a strong supporter and believer of our sportsmen and women but a critic of hypocrisy!

So let’s celebrate and give credit when they’re due but don’t politicise the achievements of our sporting talents. Congratulations Kirani James! Congratulations Lewis Hamilton!

Finally, I came across an interesting set of statistics compiled by Mr Rey O’Neale a wellknown Caribbean statistician from the British Virgin Islands. The document is entitled “Black European Olympic Games Medallists.

According to Mr O’Neal, GBR/JAM refers to a British athlete born in Jamaica as compared to GBR (JAM) – a British athlete of Jamaican parentage. Here is just a sample of medallists (taken from a long list of medallists).

100m – McDonald Bailey- GBR/TTO – Bronze 1952

100m – Linford Christie – GBR/JAM – Gold 1992

5000m – Mo Farah – GBR/SOM – Gold 2012

110m Hurdles – Colin Jackson – GBR (JAM) – Silver 1988

800m Kelly Holmes – GBR (JAM) – Gold 2004

  • TTO – Trinidad & Tobago, JAM – Jamaica, SOM – Somalia


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