ST GEORGE'S, Grenada (CMC) — The Grenada Government says it will make an initial cash payment to Olympic gold medallist Kirani James when he returns to the island for a brief stint early next month.
The payment is part of the local value of bonds promised to the Grenadian athlete following his victory in the 400m at the London Olympics last year.
James became the first athlete from outside the USA to break the 44-second barrier when he clocked 43.94 seconds and also won Grenada's first ever Olympic medal.
"Prime Minister expressed to him that this government will deliver on the bond agreement that the previous government administration would have made with Kirani except this time this government is going to give him the first installment in cash," said the Press Secretary to Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, Kisha Alexander Grant.
"So he will be collecting that upon his next visit to Grenada which is in a few weeks."
Kirani, who turns 21 on September 1, also known as Kirani Day on the local calender, is expected home in the first week of September.
Prime Minister Mitchell spoke with James on Wednesday after his disappointing seventh place finish in the Men's 400m final at the IAAF Championships in Moscow.
The Grenadian leader told James that he continues to be proud of him and understands that, like the best in the game, every athlete will have an off-day.
"He expressed his full support and how proud we continue to be of Kirani as a Grenadian," said the Press Secretary Grant.
"He continues to put us on the map and as a sportsman himself I think that Prime Minister understands the flow of sports. You are going to have off- days and he conveyed that to Kirani".
James went into the men's 400m final as favourite to take gold.
However, those wishes were blown away in less than 44 seconds by American LaShawn Merritt, who ran the race of his life, to finish in a personal best 43.74 seconds.
"Of course he is disappointed, that's not the result he would have wanted but he does understand that as an athlete these things are going to happen", said Grant.