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Justine returns inspired

By Mark Etheridge

Teenage track champion Justine Palframan heads home to South Africa on Tuesday with tired legs but a head full of new ideas and enthusiasm for the 2012 athletics season.

Palframan had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Kingston, Jamaica where she trained with some of the Caribbean nation’s top Olympic athletes, including Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.

She competed in just one race, a 400-metre event at a local meeting on Saturday, the Queen’s Grace Jackson meeting.

Explained father and coach Steve on Monday: “It was a huge meeting with more than 2000 participants. She ran in her age group event (Under-19). The meeting was a bit haphazard as they ran the top events according to schedule and just slotted everyone else in around those event. So she ended up running two hours later than scheduled and when her race did start she hadn’t warmed up completely.”

Still, the Eshowe athlete ran 55.18sec to win her heat, and her time was comfortably quicker than the other heat. There was no final event in this category. Her personal best for the distance is 52.88.

“It was a nice way to start the season,” said Steve. “She won by six seconds so it was very difficult to judge the pace. Justine said she couldn’t believe how many people were there to take part. Some of the events had as many as 25 heats!”

The reigning gold medallist in the four sprint events at the Zone VI Games in Swaziland from 2010 now faces an arduous trip home ÔÇô from Kingston to Fort Lauderdale, then on to Atlanta for her flight back to Johannesburg and then on to Durban. “She’s going to be pretty tired for the next week but it’s been well worth it, she’s so motivated after her spell there and is really keen to get going now.”

Justine is set to run a local KZN meeting in the next two weeks or so and has also targeted the Tuks Top 10 meeting in Pretoria next month as well as the inter-provincial event in Germiston.