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Javon Francis focused on Olympics, not records

Published:Wednesday | January 6, 2016 | 1:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Javon Francis

For two and a half months last season, Javon Francis was just one stride away from the five-year-old national 400-metre record of 44.40 seconds.

Then national teammate Rusheen McDonald blasted the record to 43.93 in the heats of the World Championships in Beijing.

Now, with the Olympic Games on the horizon, Francis is happy for McDonald, but says he isn't chasing records. His focus is on the Games.

The former Calabar High School standout just missed the World Championships final last year in Beijing, China, and wants to improve on that at the Olympics.

"Right now, I'm staying focused, trying to make the final this year," he said quietly, but confidently earlier this week.

He wishes his national relay teammate well, and noting McDonald's troubles with injuries, he said: "I hope he stays injury-free. Rusheen is a good guy."

Francis emphasised: "I'm just going to work hard. I'm not going after any record. Records come, records go.

"I just want to try to stay focused for the Olympics," he reiterated, "and just go out there and do my best and represent my country to the fullest."

Now a repeat semi-finalist at the World Championships, the Michael Clarke-coached Akan Track Club athlete bettered his old personal best in 2015. That mark was his 2014 Boys' Championships Class One record run of 45.00 seconds.

Last year, he sprinted past that time on five occasions, with his fastest clocking - 44.50 - coming with McDonald not far behind in 44.60 seconds on June 13 inside the National Stadium.

That was McDonald's lifetime best until his destruction of the national record held by Jermaine Gonzales.