Javon Francis — the schoolboy who amazed the world in Moscow

Javon Francis — the schoolboy who amazed the world in Moscow

RJR Sport Foundation People’s Choice Performance of the Year Award Nominee

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, January 05, 2014

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FOLLOWING his brilliant anchor leg in the silver medal-winning run at the World Championship in Moscow last year, young schoolboy Javon Francis is considered a safe bet to be voted the RJR Sport Foundation People's Choice Performance of the Year.

Francis, 18, of Calabar High, collected the baton in fifth spot, and in one burst of speed, swept past a host of runners to secure silver in the 4x400m relay for Jamaica. It was an unbelievable performance of sustained speed, guts and determination from the youngster that was the talking point long after the remarkable run.

Francis, popularly known as 'Donkey Man', has been nominated alongside footballers Jermaine 'Tuffy' Anderson, National Under-17 and Under-20 female midfielder Khadija Shaw, jockey Dane Nelson and fellow track athlete Yanique Thompson.

Francis, who is preparing to defend his 400m title at the Inter-Secondary Schools' Association (ISSA) Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championship, told the Sunday Observer that he was just proud of the nomination.

"I am so proud and I am happy to see that I trained hard and to see that I am getting this level of recognition... it's just an honour for me and my coach, my family and friends and my school," said Francis.

Donkey Man ran a blistering 44.00 seconds for his leg of the amazing Moscow run and that performance will be tested by Anderson's goal for Jamaica against Costa Rica in a World Cup 1-1 draw; Shaw championship winning strike for Jamaica Under-20s against Trinidad and Tobago to win the Caribbean title; Nelson's six-timer at Caymanas Park and Thompson's gold medal 100m hurdles run at the World Youth Championship.

"They all performed well in their events," admitted Francis. But he was quick to point out that fellow track athlete Yanique Thompson could be his biggest threat.

"She is a very good athlete and winning the event at the international junior level is a major achievement for her. She could be the challenge," Francis said.

Francis, who is in his final year at school, said he is working hard to pass his subjects and is looking forward to helping his alma mater secure yet another athletics title.

The Jamaican public is again being invited to be involved in the selection process by voting for the winner from a list of five nominees for the People's Choice of the Year award.

This year voting will take place by either text messaging or voice calls on a voting platform established by Digicel and also through voting on the Jamaica Observer social media Internet pages, its online platform, or a purpose-built e-mail address. Voting information will be available on a regular basis in the pages of the Observer.

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