World and Olympic 400m champion Kirani James has come to the end of his studies for this year, and is gearing up for his first IAAF Diamond League appearance of 2013.
“I’ve finished University for the year, so I have a lot of free time now. It’s nice to have some spare time between training sessions now, so when I’m not overseas competing, I’ll just relax at my apartment and play Fifa with my room-mates.
“I opened my season last month in The Bahamas. Me and my coach just wanted to see where I was at, but it turned out to be a really good run. We’ve since made a few adjustments in training, so hopefully I’ll have another impressive run in Shanghai.
“My first race showed me that I’m still in good form and healthy of course, but it told me a lot about my overall condition and gives me a lot of confidence. Our aim now is to just work on everything and get stronger overall and to run a bit faster in the first 100m.
“My time, 44.72, was exactly the same time I ran in my opening race of 2012, but last year I had an indoor season. This year I hadn’t ran for eight months, so I think my time was even more impressive.
“After that, I ran at the Penn Relays in the 4x400m, which was mainly a race to get some extra work in; I just went out there and tried to compete with the people who were on my leg, and I was happy with my 44.1 split.
“Speaking of relays, I’m looking forward to the day that Grenada will feature at a major championship. We have been trying to qualify for the past couple of years, but it’s difficult to get everybody on the same page at the same time. Apart from me, we have some great 400m guys like Rondell Bartholomew, Bralon Taplin, Joel Redhead.
“Rondell has been hurt for a while, which is a shame, but we have some talented guys so if we can all get together in good form, I think we could be really competitive against the best in the world. We set a national record of 3:04.69 a couple of years ago, but I think on a good day we can go a lot faster.
“My next race is this weekend at the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai. Like with any meet, I always take my competitors seriously – whether it’s someone like LaShawn Merritt or a newcomer that I’ve never heard of. I’m just going to go out there and compete to the best of my ability.
“I wish LaShawn the best and I hope he has a good race too. In our last race, in Monaco last year, he pulled up injured, and in our race before that I was disqualified.
“It should be a good race and there are lots of other talented guys in the field too, so you can’t rule anyone out. I don’t think about the pressure that some people put on me, being the World and Olympic champion. I just try my best to be consistent.
“Bye for now,