Francis returns with encouraging win

January 22, 2018
Javon Francis (second left) on his way to winning the men's 400m at the Wint/McKenley meet at Calabar on Saturday. Francis stopped the clock at 46.19 seconds.

Quarter-miler Javon Francis kicked off his campaign to compete at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England, with a fast opener in the 400m at the McKenley-Wint Classic on Saturday, which is one of a few meets being used by local athletes to qualify for the indoor event.

Francis, who will be competing indoors for the first time, stopped the clock at 46.19 seconds.

The time, however, was way off the 45.00 required to officially qualify for the meet running on an outdoor track.

But the no-nonsense relay runner said he is pleased with the time.

"I am very excited about my time. I finished (the last 100m) well strong, so I am really pleased," Francis said.

While he will continue his build-up to the championships by running locally, he said he will be making his debut on an indoor track sometime in February in the USA.

Bobbie-Gaye Wilkens-Gooden won the female equivalent in a time of 53.22.

In the 60 metres, Andrew Fisher, who is now competing for Bahrain, ran 100th of a second outside the qualifying mark with his time of 6.64. He won ahead of his training partner, Nigel Ellis, who recorded a time of 6.65 seconds.

Todea-Kay Willis of Akon track club won the female equivalent in a time of 7.45 seconds.

As expected, Calabar High School was dominate at home with sprint hurdler Orlando Bennett leading the way producing a stellar 13.58 seconds to open his season in the 110m hurdles.

Last year's Class One silver medallist in the 400m at Boys' Championships, Anthony Carpenter, also looked impressive, winning in a time of 47.34.

Calabar was also dominant in the Class Two 400m with Evaldo Whitehorn leading the way by beating world youth champion Antonio Watson in a time of 48.02.

Other outstanding performances came from St Elizabeth Technical High School's Jevauney James and Vere Technical High School's Amoy Brown.

James won the class 1 boys' 400m hurdles in a time of 51.88, while Brown produced a superb 13.80 to win the class 1 girls' 100m hurdles.

James's Coach Reynaldo Walcott said that he expects the 19-year-old to run under 50 seconds this season.

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