Teenage kicks for Kirani James as he sweeps to Grenada's first gold
On the first day of next month Kirani James celebrates his 20th birthday and will do so as a world and now Olympic champion. The teenager from Grenada last night comfortably won the 400m to complete a scintillating double.
It was a stunning performance from James, who won with ease from another 19-year-old Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, finishing more than half a second clear. Bronze went to the Trinidadian Lalonde Gordon, a relative veteran at 23. This was a young man's race.
James, an easy, fluid runner clad in his green and red suit, crossed in 43.94sec – it is the fastest time ever run on British soil, 0.04sec quicker than the great Michael Johnson managed, although the latest pretender to Johnson's crown still has some way to go to challenge his world record of 43.18sec.
It was the best received victory of the night – James has quickly become a favourite with the Stratford crowd having swapped name tags with Oscar Pistorius following his victory in the semi-final.
A year ago in Daegu, James became the youngest winner of the world 400m crown and a year on he has earned the ultimate accolade. It never looked like ending any other way.
He has long been marked out for stardom, even in a country that has no great Olympic history – his was the country's first medal at the Olympic Games.
Three years ago, after a series of outstanding runs, including winning the world youth championships, there was a scramble among a number of US universities to provide his education, and acquire his athletic skills for their track and field teams.
He rejected approaches from Florida and Arizona before deciding on Alabama. James has continued to flourish in his new surroundings. Last year he ran in London for the first time and gave the capital a taste of what was to come with a personal best.
Last night was another new low for James, who shaved 0.42sec off his previous best in a sumptuous lesson in peaking at exactly the right moment. A personal best had secured him the world championship too.
There was no Belgium fairytale for the Borlée brothers. There was almost no separating them either as they finished fifth and sixth, 0.02 apart. The identical twins had bracketed the field, starting in lane one and eight but failed to match their season's bests, both of which would have won them a medal.
A tight game could be in prospect here. Northampton have been keeping things very tight of late and ...
by Gareth Purnell
18 May 2013 02:01 AM
I can’t ever watch games of football or rugby without wistfully wondering what it must be like to be...
by Martin Ayres
16 May 2013 05:10 PM
Since PSG’s exit to Barcelona in the Uefa Champions League quarter-final in April, PSG have been sur...
by Matthew Riding
15 May 2013 02:37 PM
Tears and cheers as David Beckham ends glittering career after helping PSG to final win
England manager Roy Hodgson attacks Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham over tours
Video: Emotional David Beckham leaves the pitch for 'the last time'
Another nail-biting finish for unlucky Tottenham as Arsenal look to secure Champions League place on last day
Boxing: Carl Froch slams fellow Brits for sparring with Mikkel Kessler
- 1 Tears and cheers as David Beckham ends glittering career after helping PSG to final win
- 2 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 David Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.