JAVON Francis, the 4x400-metre relay anchor runner who virtually tore up the track to hand Jamaica an unlikely silver medal at last month's IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow, Russia, says he wants to be an inspiration to others.
Francis, dubbed as a "hard worker" by those close to him, is a fifth form student at Calabar High, and was recognised at an appreciation function held at the school's auditorium yesterday.
"I know that I want to motivate everyone around me and make them know that the sky is the limit," the shy 18-year-old said.
The youngster received plaques for his accomplishments and was presented with the top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile handset by LIME CEO Garry Sinclair.
Sinclair, who also made a $50,000 donation to the school's track and field programme, said his company has "always supported all spheres of human endeavours" and added that the presentation is a small peek into an initiative to assist various schools and projects islandwide.
Outstanding academic achievers and other sporting standouts, including World Championships 200m silver medallist and 2013 Diamond League winner Warren Weir, were also honoured.
Calabar principal Albert Corcho said he was "excited" about the event because it highlighted the multi-faceted approach of the school to the country's development.
"We're very excited about the function. The major objective was to showcase what is done at Calabar, both academically and otherwise. People tend to associate Calabar with sports, but we had a 90 per cent pass in CAPE this year," the boss of the Red Hills Road-located school said proudly.
Andrey Dryakin, the head of the consular section at the embassy of the Russian Federation, said his compatriots at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow were "excited about Jamaica's victories" at the Championships. He called for closer ties between both nations.
Fitz Coleman, one of the members of the technical staff at the Games in Moscow, said Francis was "exceptional" in driving Jamaica from fifth place, when he got the baton, and holding off the late challenge of Russia to finish second behind the mighty United States.
"He was exceptional... it was out of the book, but talking to [Calabar] coach Michael Clarke you would know it is there and perhaps the fact that he didn't make the final of the flat 400m inspired him," Coleman said of the youngster, who ran a splendid 44.00 secs split in the relay showpiece.
The athlete, popularly called 'donkey man' because of his exploits on the track, named legendary Herb McKenley and the great Bert Cameron as idols. He also credited persons who have influenced his growth.
"I wanted to get the gold medal to bring back to Jamaica... I want to do my best and do what my coach [Michael Clarke] wants me to do.
"I listen to what my mom said and my dad and maintained focus and listened to what teachers around me said. My principal [Albert Corcho] is always here with me...I really appreciate what he has done for me.
"I really want to leave [Boys' and Girls'] Champs with a victory and break the 400m record and get my [CSEC] subjects and get a degree," said Francis, who shared that he will resume background training for the new season in less than two weeks' time.