Kirani James hails home fans after 400m win at Sainsbury’s Grand Prix

Kirani James says the support of the British fans inspired him to victory in the 400m at Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix

Kirani James believes the support of the British fans that packed the Alexander Stadium on Sunday inspired him to victory as he rounded off the perfect summer by claiming the 400m title at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix.

The Olympic, World and Commonwealth champion was in fine form as he saw off Botswana’s Isaac Makwala (45.02s) and Great Britain’s Martyn Rooney (45.25s) to secure the win in a time of 44.59s.

With fierce rival LeShawn Merritt not competing, 21-year-old James, from Grenada, flew out of the blocks and eased past Brits Rooney and Matthew Hudson-Smith before pipping Makwala on the finish line.

Having dipped under the 44-second mark for the first time with a new personal best at the Diamond League meet in Switzerland in May, James then went on to set a new Commonwealth Games record in Glasgow last month before adding another win in Birmingham on Sunday.

And despite being short of his personal best, James said that he was happy with his race.

“I think my performance was good, I covered my first 150m very well and I was pleased with my overall race,” he said.

“It was great to come out here and perform in front of this crowd, they’re very excited and I really enjoy competing out there. You really feel like you’re coming out here to perform for the crowd, they’re cheering for everyone not just the British athletes, and I think a lot of countries could model themselves on that.

“Every race is unique and there are always different strategies. I had a personal best earlier this year in Lausanne, Switzerland, but I’m happy with the performance I put out here In Birmingham. I think it was very good and I’m looking forward to Beijing [for the World Championships] next year.”

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