Johannesburg – Teenage sensation Justine Palframan has returned to Jamaica for a lengthy training stint with some of the world's best sprinters as she looks to build on her stellar form next season.
Palframan was in fine shape in 2012, clinching the South African junior and senior 400 metres titles and finishing fifth at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona in July. Her time of 51.87 seconds at the global showpiece broke the 19-year-old national junior record held by Myrtle Bothma.
The 19-year-old, who also holds the SA youth 400m record, said this week she was entirely focused on her build-up to the 2013 season.
“At the moment most of my days consist of going to the gym at 9am to exercise for 45 minutes to one hour,” Palframan said.
“Then I come back to the apartment to eat and rest before the training session from 3.30pm to approximately 6pm.”
It is Palframan's second sojourn to Jamaica, though this time she will stay there for more than two months, compared with just two weeks at the beginning of the year, as she attempts to learn more from the global sprint kings and queens.
Jamaica bagged eight of the available 12 medals in the men's and women's short sprints at the London Olympic Games, while fellow Caribbean nations secured a cleansweep in the men's 400m final. West Indian states also won six of 12 possible medals in the sprint relays.
Palframan, coached by Patrick Dawson in Kingston, has had the opportunity to train with the likes of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.
Steven Palframan, her father and former coach, believed she would return to South Africa as a stronger athlete.
“Because of the time of the year, they are not doing much speed work,” he said.
“They are focusing on the longer stuff. I would not even call it speed endurance.
“The Jamaicans put much emphasis on conditioning exercises such as plyometrics.”
Palframan said his daughter would be trained by South African track coach Mohamed Ally at the University of Stellenbosch next year.
“The main challenge for her will be to work on her speed endurance over the last 60m or so,” he said.
“It may sound funny to say this, because in races in South Africa she looks very strong and is often able to run away from the other athletes over the last 100m, but if you watch a video recording of the 400m final at the World Junior Championship in Barcelona, it is obvious that she faded towards the end.
“With 100m to go she was second, just behind Ashley Spencer (of the United States), the eventual winner.
“It is ironic that we always thought that she was reasonably strong, but the final proved that she was not strong enough to last.
“Justine's problem is not unique. Many South African athletes are not able to keep up their speed until the end of a race.”
Palframan confirmed his daughter would focus on the 200m and 400m events next season. – Sapa