ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC – At least 10 colleges in the United States have expressed strong interest in recruiting Grenada’s CARIFTA Games 400-metre champion Kirani James.
An official of Speed Zone, James’ club in Grenada, has confirmed that the new regional 400-metre record holder has been pondering a number of offers from US colleagues.
Universities interested in recruiting the 16-year-old form five student include, Baylor University, University of Alabama, South Carolina University, Southern Missouri University, Florida State University, and Arizona State University.
“We have been engaging with the coaches, we have had about five of them come down already to meet with the family,” explained Marlon Glean, the Director of Speed Zone. “The family gets a chance to meet with them and asks as many questions whatsoever,” Glean added.
“We are not going to take a drastic decision and pick the first school that comes calling. Kirani is at a stage where you have every college coach in the US wanting him. We are looking at different athletes they would have had over the years, the times they went in with and what times they come out running.”
James smashed Jamaican world star Usain Bolt’s record as he sped to a superb 45.45 second clocking to win the Under-20 Boys’ one-lap gold at the George Odlum Stadium in St Lucia on Saturday.
He was named Monday night as the Austin Sealy Award winner, for being the meet’s most outstanding performer. Among the US coaches who have visited Grenada in search of a deal to recruit James is Harvey Glance, formerly the world’s fastest man and who now coaches Alabama University.
Glance is also on the coaching staff of the US team to the 2009 World Championships later this year in Germany.
“These calibre of coaches who have had experience, who have been through the system, these are the people we are engaging with and over a period we are going to see which one really cares about the kid,” Glean told CMC Sport.
“We are not going to make a decision right now. Probably in June, July or August we will make a decision. But it’s a long process and we are working towards it right now,” Glean said.
Over the past two years, James has been achieving world-class levels at international meets.
He ran the fastest time ever by a 14-year-old in 2007 when he clocked 46.96 seconds for silver at the IAAF World Youth Championship in the Czech Republic and at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in India, he won gold in 46.66 seconds.
Several colleges have also expressed an interest in recruiting James’s coach Albert Joseph, as part of the deal.
“The coaches have witnessed Speed Zone training, they have asked questions about how Mr Joseph can get Kirani to run so fast and some of the coaches are very impressed with what they saw,” Glean explained.
“We have had about five offers on the table to take Mr Joseph with Kirani where Mr Joseph will be involved within the college set-up with regarding coaching of Kirani and other athletes”.