Frosh Trackman National Honoree

Kirani James, a freshman for the Alabama men's track and field team, was named Sportsman of the Year in his country of Grenada last Saturday. The highly-touted James signed with the Tide in early January.

Kirani James comes to Alabama as the world's No. 1 youth 400 meter sprinter. He holds numerous junior records, including the fastest 400m time ever run by a 14, 15 and under-20-year old sprinter at those respective ages. James is an eight-time champion at the international level including the CARIFTA Games, Pan American Junior Championships, and World Youth Championships.

"It's an award that's given to the most outstanding athlete in the country including all sports that the nation has to offer," Alabama Coach Harvey Glance said. "It also speaks volumes of who he is, a track and field athlete, winning that award. He didn't compete often this year, but when he did run, he set records and won gold. He was very well deserving of this award. Kirani is a very humble young man which I'm very, very proud to be affiliated with that."

In 2009 and in his under-20 debut, James defeated the defending 400m champion to win with a time of 45.45 at the 2009 CARIFTA Games. His time of 45.45 easily set a new championship record, beating world record holder and Olympic champion Usain Bolt's six-year-old mark of 46.35. James became the first youth athlete to complete a 200/400m double gold at the 2009 World Youth Championships. He also won the 400m race at the 2009 Pan American Junior Championships.

"I think he is very level headed," Glance said. "He has a tremendous sight for where he wants to go and what he's trying to do. We were at lunch while he was being recruited and somebody walked up and said ‘are you ready for 2012 [London Olympics]' and his answer was that it's too far away. He has this great mind and understanding that there is a step process that he wants to take. He understands there is a world stage out there but he wants to challenge that stage one step at a time."

Though James has already competed for the Tide this year in the 4x400m relay, he will compete in his first indoor 400m open race Saturday at the Meyo Invitational.

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