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Justine’s Jamaican jaunt

Reigning Zone VI Games 400-metre champion Justine Palframan is lapping up information from Jamaica’s leading athletes as she gets her 2012 track and field year underway, writes Mark Etheridge.

Teenager Palframan who won three gold medals at the Zone VI Games in Swaziland last year, got the chance to go to Jamaica through World Wide Scholarships’ Munya Maraire and will spend a week with the country’s top stars, including Olympic sprint star Usain Bolt and 100-metre world champion Yohan Blake.

Explained Justine’s coach and father Steve: “WWS are connected to the Racers club in Kingston and a lot of African youngsters get to go and stay in Kingston and train with the club’s athletes.

“She’s already met Yohan (Blake) and has seen Usain around but not got to meet him yet.

“There are also a lot of athletes from all over the world using the base to do their build-up training for the London Olympics. They train twice a day with the group and she says the main technical coach is paying a lot of attention to her which is great. Already they’ve picked that are arms are too closed, something I have told her myself but it’s always good when it comes from someone else as well.”

Palframan also says his daughter is having to get used to the sheer volume of training. “It’s very different to what we do back here. Effectively they’re training three hours a day .. the volume of trackwork is not that huge but after the track they go straight to gym and they’re also using a lot of plyometrics in their build-ups. It’s already way more than what she’s used and her back is a bit stiff already but nothing serious.”

Justine is scheduled to run a club meeting in Kingston on Saturday. “She’ll definitely run the 400m and I’ve said that if there is enough time between then she should consider the 200m as well.”

The Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal youngster has not raced a sprint in close on a year after injuring her hamstring in February 2011 and Saturday’s meeting would serve as a useful form guide as her year starts. “Her first meeting locally will probably be in Durban and then probably the Tuks Top 10 meeting in Pretoria in February. It’ll be nice to get a good time under her belt early on.”

Her current best 400m time is the 52.88sec she ran at the Zone VI Games. “I’m hoping for her to get as close to 52sec as possible this year,” said Steve.

This year will be pretty much a gap year for the teenager. “She’ll probably start studying next yearÔǪ at this stage she’s leaning more and more towards something in the teaching profession.”

Meanwhile she’s absorbing as much track information as possible in her Jamaica jaunt.


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