St. George -- Former Sports Minister, Patrick Simmons, has reiterated a call for the government to consider renaming the refurbished athletics and football stadium to honour Olympic 400 meter champion, Kirani James.
In a statement issued by the National Democratic COngress which he represented as a government minister, Simmons said that James deserves this recognition for his performances on the track.
James broke a 19 year-old 400m record held by American Michael Johnson at the Drake Relays on Friday in Iowa, United States. He won in a world leading time of 44.22 seconds.
"The National Democratic Congress (NDC) would like to congratulate Kirani James on his record-breaking performance at the Drake Relays meet in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday 24th April," according to the statement.
"Breaking a record set by the legendary Michael Johnson is no easy feat for any athlete."
But Simmons repeated a call for the government to continue to honour James for his global performances.
"Additionally, we call upon the Grenada Government to honor the commitment made by the NDC government in 2012 to name the Athletics Stadium following completion of reconstruction work – in honor of Kirani James," he said.
"It is important to note that the government of St Kitts and Nevis, during this year's CARIFTA Games, renamed their Track and Field stadium after Kim Collins."
During the 2013 Budget presentation Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr Keith Mitchell said that through a BOLT arrangement, work would have started on the first phase of the Cuthbert Peters' Park in St John which would be transformed and named the Kirani James' Mini Stadium.
"I am deeply concerned about the lack of respect and appreciation for our former national players in various disciplines and even our Test cricketers. As a Nation, we ought to be more caring. Government will consider ways to show more respect and appreciation for their service to our Country and region," he said.
However, there are indications that the government has changed plans and would consider renaming the national sporting facility in honour of James.
The proposed renaming of the stadium was among an incentive package announced by then Prime Minister Tillman Thomas during a national rally to celebrate James' Olympic victory in London.
Thomas said that in recognition of his victory, the athletic stadium will be renamed the "Kirani James Stadium" after it is rebuilt.
He was appointed a sports and tourism ambassador which carries with it the use of a Grenada diplomatic passport.
September 1, James' birthday, "will henceforth be known as Kirani James Day," he said.
Following his victory at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea in 2011, Lagoon Road in St George's was renamed Kirani James Boulevard.
Plans were also announced for upgrading the boulevard and also to publish special commemorative stamps in James' honour.
The stadium, which was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, is being reconstructed with assistance from the government of China.


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