ST.GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC- Grenadian track and field coach Albert Joseph who discovered Kirani James a decade and a half ago says the Olympic silver medalist must embark on a comprehensive review of his training method after he was upstaged by South African Wayde van Niekerk.
James failed in his bid to repeat as men’s 400 metres champion at the recently concluded Olympic Games in Brazil, losing to Niekerk who won in style by smashing American Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old World record.
While James trailed Niekerk with a season- best 43.76, the South African clocked an amazing 43.03 seconds to shatter Johnson’s old time of 43.18. In an interview on the regional television show Big Bang Sports, Joseph said the 23 year old quarter miler has been consistent but now needs to improve his times to compete with Niekerk.
“I am sure he would have to go back to the drawing board and do something different with his training because being consistent he has been running 47.7 since 2014, 2014 was 43.74, 2015 was 43.78, this year is 43.76, so he is very consistent with the 43.7s.,” said Joseph who also coached Trinidad and Tobago 400 metre runner Machel Cedenio.
“Now you have a guy that is running 43.1 or almost 42 in order to compete with him you have to get out of that comfort zone of running 43.7 and start thinking about improving because in three years time he (Kirani) has not really improved on his time”.
In the 400 metres finals, James, defending the Olympic title he won in London in 2012 was leading off the final turn but ran out of steam as Niekerk stunned the athletics world.
Joseph, who also hails from James’ hometown on the west coast of Grenada, says he is confident his countryman can produce better times on a revamped training method.
“He is very consistent but he needs to get down to the 43.5, 43.4 around that range in order to be competitive with Niekerk when Niekerk is at his best,” said Joseph. “I think Kirani has the ability to run 42 but it depends on the type of training”.
James is currently being coached by former American track athlete Harvey Glance.