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Francis aiming for Beijing

Published:Friday | June 19, 2015 | 6:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Javon Francis

Fresh from solid runs in Atlanta and Kingston, Javon Francis has his sights firmly fixed on the Jamaican National Championships. The 20 year-old 400-metre runner said his target is to run well enough at the nationals to make the team to the 15th World Championships.

Following that, he is aiming to make the final at the World Championships in his event.

Last weekend, Francis broke 45 seconds for 400 metres, for the third time, when he won in 44.50 seconds at the last in a series of all-comers meets staged at the National Stadium.

That was a follow-up to his breakthrough performance last month at the Jamaica Invitational, where he lowered his personal best from 45.00 to 44.90 seconds and a solo run of 44.96 in Atlanta.

The 44.50 puts him level with 1983 World Champion Bert Cameron in joint third place on the Jamaica all-time performance list. The only Jamaicans to have run the 400 faster are Roxbert Martin, 44.49 in 1997, and Jermaine Gonzales, 44.40, in 2010.

make the team

With that behind him, his focus is on the nationals. "I'm going to go there and just qualify for the team", he said in a cool, clear tone. "It doesn't matter to me if I win or lose", he said, outlining his next major goal.

Nevertheless, the 2013 nationals runner-up is hoping to win. "Well, I'm hoping to win this nationals but I just want to make the team", he reiterated.

"After that, we move to World Championships and just go out there, do my best and try to make finals", he said.

As can be expected from the fastest Jamaican 400-metre man of the year, he's confident he will make the team.

"I most definitely will make the team", he asserted quietly. "I'm going to stay focused and stay in my driver's seat like always", he concluded.

At Calabar, he joined Rupert Hoilette of Kingston College and fellow Calabar hero Daniel England as the only three-time winners of the Boys' Championships Class 1 400 metres. Preparation is, however, a bit different, compared to his days as a high- school athlete even though he still has Calabar maestro Michael Clarke as his coach.

"In highschool, every Saturday, I would run," he indicated.

"It's a totally different thing in pro", he remarked with reference to the lower intervals between his races this year.

extra work

He had the reputation of being a hard worker from his Calabar days, and nothing has changed in this area.

"In pro, we have lots of really good athletes", he cited, "so you have to put in the extra work."

He's looking forward to racing Kirani James, who he admires greatly. He, however, foresees big races between himself and the Grenadian treasure in the future.

"In the long run" he predicts, "me and Kirani James will soon kick off a royal rumble."

For this season, however, Javon expects to be pulled to a personal record or "PR' by the 2012 Olympic champion. "When I get a race with Kirani James", he said expectantly, "I'm just going to see if I can go below my PR."

James has clicked off times of 43.95, 44.22 and 44.31 seconds for 400m this season.