In his address at a rally on Tuesday evening at Gouyave, the fisher folk hometown in Grenada where James was born, Grenada prime minister Tillman Thomas told the people of Grenada that James “rewrote the history of Grenada with his feet.”
On Monday, James became Grenada’s first Olympic medallist with a golden win in men’s 400 metres final, in the which Trinidad and Tobago’s Lalonde Gordon won bronze and Lugelin Santos of Dominican Republic copped the silver medal.
Present at the rally–which was followed by cultural entertainment and a street party — were James’ mother, Annie James and father, Jurani Marshall whom Thomas congratulated and thanked “for bringing up such an exceptional son.”
He also expressed gratitude to James’ coaches, past and present, for the fantastic job they did in recognising his talent and preparing him for the world stage.
In spite of his latest achievement, he said James, known in his hometown as ‘‘The Jaguar’’, was a very humble person. “We are proud because Grenada has given to the world a model youth,” Thomas said noting that he could not help but express his admiration of the 19-year-old who exchanged his bib with Oscar Pistorius, the South African double-amputee athlete who ran the semi-finals with James.
Rather than basking in his own victory, James told the world, Thomas said, “of his admiration for Pistorius and pointed out that Pistorius was an inspiration for us all.”
Addressing James in his absence, Thomas said, “Your journey to these games has not only been a journey of personal sacrifice and commitment, but one of love and dedication to your homeland.
“You have made our country proud and for this we love, admire and thank you.”
James’ talent, he said, has challenged all citizens to become beacons of light for the younger generation.
Coming from a poor background, Thomas said James has challenged people to be the best they could be in spite of constraints, to be disciplined and focus, to be diligent and vigorous, to be humble in victory and embrace opponents, and to put country first and bring honour to the nation.
By his victory, Thomas said James did not only win the race, but he was the first non-American in over 40 years to run the 400 metres in under 44 seconds.
Meanwhile, Thomas said a deserving award to honour James was yet to be identified.