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Kirani James will most likely have his next race in Guyana at the end of the month as he resumes his career following a 14-month hiatus after being diagnosed with Grave’s Disease.

However, going forward, where and when he competes will be carefully managed to ensure that performs at his best for the remainder of his career. There are even plans to engage two-time Olympic 100m gold medalist Gail Devers, who also suffers from Grave’s, to get first-hand knowledge of how to successfully compete while managing the disease.

James, 25, was diagnosed with the disease that affects the thyroid gland and causes weight loss, muscle weakness, insomnia, erratic heartbeat and intolerance of heat, following a listless performance at the 2017 Drake Relays where he finished sixth in 46.21s, the slowest time he had run in almost a decade.

He withdrew from competition until last weekend when he opened his season in Jamaica.

The 2012 Olympic Champion, competing at the Racers Grand Prix in Kingston on June 9, won a thriller in an impressive 44.35s over American Fred Kerley. James’ coach Harvey Glance said the performance of the affable Grenadian moved him to tears.

“It’s been a hard road back. It brought tears to my eyes. It really was rewarding for us to get back to where we are right now. It’s a God-blessed moment,” Glance revealed.

“We had a nice little chat from Atlanta to Alabama. We talked about the journey and to remember where we came from.”

Glance, a gold medalist in the sprint relay at the 1976 Olympics, and who came out of retirement to coach James at the 2012 Olympics in London, has shared a special relationship with the young Grenadian whom he had coached at the University of Alabama. So, it was particularly painful to see his protégé go through his trials in early 2017.

“Kirani is like a son to me. It’s personal. Every doctor’s appointment I was there, every evaluation I was there. I was a mutual partner,” he said, explaining his concerns when between April 8, 2017, when James competed at the Grenada Invitational, and April 28, when he raced at Drake, the quarter-miler had lost 15 pounds and was incredibly weak, laying in the rain-soaked track in Iowa for near 45 minutes after his worst performance in years.

Kirani James
Kirani James
“We were not going to put him back on the track until we knew what was going on,” Glance said.

Once training resumed Glance said his main concern was not to push too hard. He wanted to ensure he didn’t take him “over the edge.”

As time passed, Glance began to see that James was responding well, but needed to see if what he saw in training would translate in competition. “I had to see how much he had recovered. The only thing I knew from the workouts was that he was in really good shape. I am pleased up to this point where he can compete and compete well,” said Glance who indicated that Saturday’s time was one of Kirani’s fastest ever season openers.

“Typically, those performances have led to sub-44 performances. If everything is monitored properly, I know he would be capable of sub-44s.”

Glance indicated that looking ahead, James will not commit to any competition until it is certain he is in the best of health. “We will monitor his energy levels, breathing, muscle strength, and if he feels good, then we make the commitment,” Glance said, adding that this will be important in maintaining the athlete’s credibility.

Eventually, they plan to sit down with Devers so she can advise them on “what to expect” and perhaps provide additional useful information.

For now, though, Glance is content. “I am pleasantly surprised. He is doing all the right things,” he said, adding that he was never in doubt about James’ ability to return to the very top of the sport.

“You don’t doubt his character, his fight nor his ability to compete.”

Source: Leighton Levy|| SportsMax

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