Former Rusea's High runner Aalliyah Francis happy about decision to compete at World U-20 ChampsThursday, August 26, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
Former Rusea's High runner Aalliyah Francis says her decision to compete at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships held at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, has paid off as she came away with a relay silver medal as well as a new personal best in the 200m.
Francis, who delayed the start of college at Auburn University in Alabama for the opportunity to represent Jamaica at the World Under-20 Championships, was one of two western Jamaica-linked athletes to win relay silver medal as former Herbert Morrison Technical athlete Antonio Hanson, also pocketed a silver medal after he ran the first round of the men's 4x400m relay.
“I don't regret coming to Kenya,” Francis told the Jamaica Observer West in an interview on Monday. “It's my first time on a World Junior team and I am happy I had the opportunity to have this experience.”
Both Francis and Hanson also ran on the Mixed 4x400m relay team that placed seventh in the final run on the first day of the five-day championships.
Francis, who was added to both relay teams for the finals, also lowered her personal best in the 200m when she ran 23.70 seconds (0.9m/s) in the semi-finals lowering the 23.77 seconds she ran earlier this year, and finished seventh in the final a day later.
She told the Observer West that she enjoyed the experience, despite the almost stifling protocols due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“The experience was really good, as I said I'm happy to have this experience and to go up against athletes from other countries and test myself,” she stressed.
She added that it is difficult to choose between winning a medal and running a personal best.
“I was determined in the semi-finals that I had to make it to the finals for the 200m and for that I know I would have to push harder leading up to a personal best,” she said.
“I was very confident with the 4x400m relay team, we all had our minds made up that we were not leaving without a medal and we went out there and did our best and I'm truly grateful for everything.”
Looking ahead, Francis, who won the girls' Class 1 200m/400m double at the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Athletics Association (ISSA) Boys' and Girls' Championship in May, said she has not discussed with her coaches or thought about which event she will focus on moving forward.
“I have not yet spoken about the decisions of my events to my coaches at Auburn as yet,” she told the Observer West. “But, in the meantime, I am still working on both the 400m and 200m and continue to lower my times as I move further in my track career.”