By Vijay,

Michael Clarke, the coach of Calabar High, has challenged the school’s top quarter-miler Jovan Francis to break the national senior 400-metre record this year.

Clarke, who also coaches Akon Track Club, set the target for Francis weeks after he erased Usain Bolt’s Class One 400-metre record at the Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships.

The 18-year-old Francis won in 45 seconds flat to erase Bolt’s mark of 45.35 seconds, which was done in 2003 while the athlete was representing William Knibb.

The national 400-metre record is 44.40 seconds and is being held by Olympian Jermaine Gonzales.

Breaking Gonzales’ national 400-metre record is one of three objectives that Clarke wants Francis to concentrate on for 2014.

According to Clarke “I had a discussion with him, saying that Commonwealth Games is the objective, get the gold medal or two get a medal and three to break the national record, at 44.40 by Jermaine Gonzales.”

Francis got the attention of the nation when he anchored Jamaica to the silver medal in the men’s 4×400-metre relay at the World Championships in Moscow, Russia in 2013.

He ran an impressive anchor leg of 44 seconds on his way to deliver the silver for the country from a tough position.

Following his record run at the Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, Francis disclosed that he would join his high school coach at Akon Track Club.

Francis said ‘I am going there to work hard and try and stay at the top at all times.

Francis, who injured his hamstring during the Boys’ Class 1 200 metres at the Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, is expecting to start rehabilitation work soon.

 “Doctor advised us it’s a minor strain (hamstring)” and the last time I check he was pain free,” disclosed Clarke.


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