OLYMPIC 400M CHAMP: Kirani James

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James is Grenada's top sportsman

l ST GEORGE'S

Reigning World and Olympic 400 metres champion Kirani James is Grenada's sports personality of 2012, copping his fourth consecutive title at the weekend.

James easily defeated a field of 13 other male nominees for the national award during a ceremony at the Grenada Grand Beach Resort.

He previously won the titles in 2009, 2010, and 2011 but was the clear favourite after securing the island's first Olympic medal when he won the Men's 400m gold in London last summer.

The selection panel of sports journalist Trevor Thwaites, Raymond Roberts and Michael Bascombe also selected another track athlete, Neisha Bernard-Smith (formerly Bernard-Thomas) as the Female Sports Personality for her competitiveness in 2012.

Bernard-Smith attained a "B" Standard qualifying time of 2:01.21 in the Women's 800m for the London Olympic Games.

She eventually reached the semi-finals of the event with a season's best 2:00.68.

Among factors the panel used to determine the awardees were the impact of their performances locally, regionally and internationally.

"Kirani James' historic achievement at the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London is unsurpassed by any other Grenadian in the year under review and Neisha Smith made a remarkable come-back in 2012 to qualify for the London Olympic Games," said Bascombe in his submission to the Panel.

"For these and more, I concur with their nominations and wish to recommend both athletes to the Selection Panel as Grenada's Sports Personalities for 2012."

Guest speaker at the ceremony, organised by the Grenada Olympic Committee, was former Bahamian Olympian Pauline Davis-Thompson who noted the remarkable respect Grenada gained as the smallest nation with a World and Olympic champion.

"I was born in the ghetto in Nassau, Bahamas but the ghetto was not born in me," said Davis-Thompson, who won two gold medals at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

"I saw this amazing opportunity to get an education and see the world through the sport of Track and Field…me, Pauline Davis-Thompson, a product of the Bahamas, a Child of the Universe and a Citizen of the World,"

Also securing top honours at the ceremony were Track and Field athlete Anderson Peters and Swimmer Oreoluwa Cherebin who were named Junior Sports Personalities for 2012.

Peters won the Under-17 Boys' Javelin Throw at the Junior CARIFTA Games in Bermuda in April in a championship record of 60.50 metres and then picked up bronze at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Junior Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador last July.

Cherebin took the gold medal in the Girls' 13-14 50 metres breaststroke in 35.90 seconds and silver in the 50m Butterfly in 30.12 at the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC) in Aruba.

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