By Dania Bogle
Jamaican high school athlete Javon Francis made history in the month of June when he clocked a personal best and junior world leading 45.24 seconds to finish second in the men’s 400m Jamaica’s National Senior Championships at Kingston’s National Stadium.
“I feel so good about my performance this weekend although Javere Bell is a great athlete. I feel wonderful …I feel happy that I made the team to Russia,” the Calabar High School fourth form student, who was among the best at this year’s Inter-Secondary School’s Sports Association Boys & Girls Championships, said.
Francis finished behind Cameron Blazers’ Javere Bell who won in a personal best 45.08 seconds and the performances of top three which included Akheem Gauntlett marked a changing of the guard in the Jamaican quarter-mile.
Francis has had quite a year. The 18 year old sounded his intent with a world leading 45.42 seconds to win the 400m at a JAAA All-Comers Meet in May. This was as few months after winning two medals in the 2013 Carifta championships.
He missed out on the individual gold but anchored Jamaica to 4x400m gold and won silver in the 400m.
At the 2013 Penn Relays in April Francis anchored Calabar to a gold medal in the 4x400m. That was only weeks after he captured the Class One boys 400m at the 2013 ISSA Boys Championships.
In July 2012 Francis competed at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain where he posted personal best times in the 400m but finished last in the final.
Francis was a student at the Windward Road Primary and Junior High School when he was spotted by Calabar coach Michael Clarke. The veteran coach conditioned him to the national championships silver a week after he opted not to compete in the junior trials.
“I said I really want to go out there and do my best and the coach really believed in me. I was not running to win. I was running to make the team I like to run with the big guys and running with school boys I don’t show my real potential so I enjoyed running with the big guys,” he said.
Francis is not intimated by the prospect of competing against the world’s best in Moscow this summer.
“I want to go into the race execute and do my best.”