Toronto: Olympic and world 400 metre champion Grenada's Kirani James says he was shocked on hearing the South African double amputee athlete, Oscar Pistorius, was accused of murder. James, who shared an iconic moment with Oscar Pistorius at last year's London Olympic Games, said he learnt of the Valentine Day murder of Pistorius's girlfriend through a text he received from one of his roommates, reports CMC.
Pistorius has been charged with premeditated murder and while no date has yet been set for his trial it is expected to provoke worldwide news coverage. "I thought he was playing a joke," James said in a report published in the Toronto weekly, Share. "But when I turned on the TV, it was all over the news."
James, 20, won the 400 metres at the London Games, giving Grenada its first ever Olympic medal. After winning the 400 metres semifinal James embraced Pistorius who finished last, and exchanged bibs with him in a moment captured by numerous photographers and published around the world. "I was just as shocked as most people because I really did not see that coming," said James, the first Caribbean athlete to win the 400 at the Olympics since the late Jamaican, Arthur Wint, achieved the feat at the 1948 Games. "All we can do now is pray for him and the family of the deceased."
James, a student at the University of Alabama, was in Canada for a celebratory event organised by the Grenadian community in the Greater Toronto Area.