PUMA signs Francis

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

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FORMER Calabar High quarter-miler Javon Francis has signed a professional contract with PUMA, the German sporting goods manufacturer announced yesterday.

While terms of the contract were not announced, the release said the IAAF World Championships 4x400m relay silver medallist "has huge potential for a glittering career in track & field, and is a strong addition to the global sports brands athlete portfolio".

Francis’ personal best 45.00 seconds that he ran while breaking Usain Bolt’s ISSA Boys’ Champs Class One 400m record is the joint fastest by a Jamaican this season with JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships winner Ahkeem Gauntlett.

"It’s an exciting time," Francis was quoted to have said in the release. "I am grateful that PUMA recognises my talent and have offered me such support, especially because of the commitment PUMA has for track and field in Jamaica. This partnership is a big moment for me, and I’m proud that they see such potential in me."

Christian Voigt, senior global head of sports marketing at PUMA, said, "We’ve watched Javon develop through the high school programme in Jamaica, seeing him develop into a fine young athlete with considerable potential.

His talent, enthusiasm and character suggest he’s a star in the making, and he’s a wonderful fit for PUMA in our new ‘Forever Faster’ era. We are very happy to have Javon with us, and are excited to see him grow throughout the years ahead."

Francis joins PUMA’s global brand ambassador and triple world record holder Usain Bolt as Jamaicans signed to the brand, as well as sprint hurdlers Hansle Parchment and Andrew Riley, along with intermediate hurdler Ristananna Tracey.

Francis, who withdrew from last weekend’s JAAA/SVL National Senior Championships with a sore hamstring, rose to international prominence when he ran an astounding anchor leg at the World Championships last year in Moscow, Russia, taking Jamaica from fifth at the final changeover to second, just holding off Russia for the silver medal.

For that performance he was voted the 2014 Viewers’ Choice Awards winner at the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year ceremony.

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