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Golden girl Palframan aims to get quicker for SA
- Updated: July 11, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
South Africa’s latest world champion, Justine Palframan has the perfect build-up heading into the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Beijing, China later this year.
Palframan powered to a personal best 51.27sec triumph in the women’s 400-metre final at the World Student Games in Gwangju, South Korea on Friday, to add to fellow-sprinter and friend Akani Simbine’s gold in the 100m a day previously.
After a hectic evening spent at doping control and allowing her achievement to sink in properly, the Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal ace reflected on her race with Road to Rio 2016.
‘I still can’t believe I won… it was always a dream I’ve had but never thought I’d actually achieve it, it still doesn’t feel like it’s happened. But I felt really good in the race and all the training coach Mohamed Ally and I have done has paid of. I stuck to the race plan and I got a personal best time out of it.’
Asked about her race preparations after two earlier rounds of action, she said: ‘I actually approached the race like I did any other race , nothing much has changed, we have just put a little more work into my finishing. I just wanted to go out there, run strong and do the best I possibly could.’
And how does it compare to her 200/400m SA Senior Championships double at her Stellenbosch University base earlier this year?
‘This is definitely my highest achievement. Winning SA Seniors is without doubt a great feeling but in comparison this is a world title and it feels great to go into the history books of the Universiade as a gold medallist.’
The Palframan family home is back in KwaZulu Natal where mom Trevlyn, dad and former coach Steve and brother (David) and sister (Katelyn) await her return will be beaming with pride. Good news for them is that she’s heading home this week.
‘I get some home time now, and then I’ll be back to Stellenbosch as class starts on the 20th of July. Then back to training for world champs.’
Palframan has always juggled between the 100, 200 and 400m events but recently she’s shifting focus. ‘The 200m is still my favorite but I think it’s now starting to sink in that I may just be better in the 400m.’
Big question now is can she go quicker?
‘There’s always a chance, with the right atmosphere and competition and people pushing me, anything is possible. As athletes we always want to do better, without taking a moment to celebrate what we’ve just achieved!’
Looking back at the South Korean experience she sums up: ‘At this stage of my preparation I’m satisfied I had a very successful championship, having gone through three rounds successfully and still being able to produce a personal best.
‘I actually have no doubt that I have the ability to go faster and with more opportunities at international level this can be a reality. I aim to look back at my current performance and then look at ways to improve ahead of the senior world championships later this year.’