Tue | Aug 22, 2017

This one's for mom - Francis dedicates JII victory to his mother

Published:Monday | May 9, 2016 | 5:00 AMShayne Fairman
Javon Francis celebrates winning the men's 400 metres at the Jamaica International Invitational meet at the National Stadium on Saturday night. Francis won in 44.85 seconds.

Exciting and never-say-die 400m runner Javon 'Donkeyman' Francis, who brought the curtains down on the 13th staging of the Jamaica International Invitational (JII) meet on Saturday night in emphatic fashion at the National Stadium, dedicated the victory "for my mother, tomorrow (yesterday) is Mother's Day".

Twenty-one-year-old Francis completed a stout-hearted victory to much applause from the National Stadium crowd.

"I just did a great job for her, and then tomorrow (yesterday) I'll visit my mother and give her a big kiss," the former Calabar High School standout said in a post-race interview.

He added: "I feel good with the win and to come out here and put on a show."

Francis ran a fast backstretch from Lane Five and took over the race after being briefly consigned to second place by American Vernon Norwood for some distance before his power finishing saw him surge ahead and take the win in 44.85 seconds.

Norwood was second in a flat 45.00, with Belgian Olympian Kevin Borlee (45.17) in third place.

National record holder Rusheen McDonald had to settle for fifth in a time of 45.90 seconds.

"It's a good run for me and I am pleased with my time." He added that in the "next couple years I just want to uplift myself, stay focused and just think about my career".

Francis is a 2013 World Championships relay silver medallist and says he is looking forward to an excellent National Trials in June.

"My focus right now is on the Olympic team, and when I make the Olympic team, I focus on the final," he commented, adding that he was doing what he loved, "running with the big guys".

"All the years I have always told myself I want to run with the big guys. The preparation is going quite fine and I want to just thank the Lord that I'll stay injury-free," he stressed, a clear reference to last year's injury-plagued season.

At last year's IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, Francis was eliminated in the semi-finals despite running a fast 44.77 seconds, the 12th fastest time overall.