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Fitter and Faster - Francis ready for 2016

Published:Saturday | January 30, 2016 | 1:00 AMLeighton Levy
Javon Francis

Jamaica's 400m champion Javon Francis feels he is at his strongest and fastest this year as he hopes to challenge for a medal at the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil this summer.

The 21-year-old quarter-miler opened his season on January 23, with a 46.19 run at the inaugural McKenley/Wint Track and Field Classic at his alma mater Calabar High School in Kingston, cruising home well ahead of the chasing pack.

"It was the first time I had opened up so fast, usually I open at the Camperdown Classic (held in February) so I am very pleased with my time," said Francis, who believes he is now stronger than he was last season when he ran a personal best 44.50.

After winning the national championships later that month in 44.70, expectations were high that Francis would have been among the medal contenders at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China. He was, however, eliminated in the semi-finals having run 44.77 to be 12th fastest overall. He qualified for the semi-finals with a creditable run of 44.83.

Despite some disappointment from his fans, Francis was quite pleased with his performance.

At the national championships Francis suffered a groin injury during the 400m finals, and it prevented him from training for three to four weeks. He managed to get fit in time for Beijing, but he was not back at his best.

"I never expected to run very fast because I was coming off an injury, so I was very pleased with my performance although I didn't get a medal, but I benefited from the experience," said the runner, who would later lead Jamaica to a fourth-place finish in the mile relay with a blistering 43.5-second anchor leg.

"Last year people were saying I could go for the national record, but in my mind I always say records come and records go. Every time I go out to perform I go to win a medal," Francis said.