Jamaica’s 400m champion Javon Francis feels he is at his strongest and fastest this year as he hopes to challenge for a medal at the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil this summer.The 21-year-old quarter-miler opened his season on January 23, with a 46.19 run at the inaugural McKenley/Wint Track and Field Classic at his alma mater Calabar High School in Kingston, cruising home well ahead of the chasing pack.”It was the first time I had opened up so fast, usually I open at the Camperdown Classic (held in February) so I am very pleased with my time,” said Francis, who believes he is now stronger than he was last season when he ran a personal best 44.50.After winning the national championships later that month in 44.70, expectations were high that Francis would have been among the medal contenders at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China. He was, however, eliminated in the semi-finals having run 44.77 to be 12th fastest overall. He qualified for the semi-finals with a creditable run of 44.83.Despite some disappointment from his fans, Francis was quite pleased with his performance.At the national championships Francis suffered a groin injury during the 400m finals, and it prevented him from training for three to four weeks. He managed to get fit in time for Beijing, but he was not back at his best.”I never expected to run very fast because I was coming off an injury, so I was very pleased with my performance although I didn’t get a medal, but I benefited from the experience,” said the runner, who would later lead Jamaica to a fourth-place finish in the mile relay with a blistering 43.5-second anchor leg.”Last year people were saying I could go for the national record, but in my mind I always say records come and records go. Every time I go out to perform I go to win a medal,” Francis said.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VALYERMO – A 49-year-old Littlerock man remains missing nearly a week after he left his home on a motorcycle ride apparently into the San Gabriel Mountains. It is out of character for Sean Kim, 49, to be so long out of contact with his family and he needs periodic insulin shots for his diabetes but did not bring his medicine on the ride, family and an investigator said. “These days all my family does is drive through the mountains and search for uncle in ditches or places where he may have possibly fallen off with his motorcycle and try to think of other places where my uncle would go on his motorcycle,” niece Mira Kim said. A sheriff’s helicopter flew on Tuesday and Wednesday over the Devil’s Punchbowl area and other places where Kim might have ridden but found no sign of him or of his red Suzuki Bandit 600 motorcycle, Detective Diane Harris said. Without a starting point, there is no way to search for him on the ground, she said. No activity has turned up on his credit cards or bank account, Harris said, but cell phone records indicate that Kim – or at least his cell phone – might have been in east Lancaster the night he disappeared, she said. Cell phone company records indicate Kim was in the Valyermo area when he called a friend about noon March 25 – the last that anyone has heard from him – but more than 10 hours later his phone’s signal was picked up in East Lancaster. About 10:20 to 10:30 p.m. March 25, his cell phone signal was picked up by a cell phone transmission tower near the 1700 block of East Avenue J. Incoming calls were placed to his phone, but he didn’t answer, Harris said. Kim’s phone could have been as far as three to five miles away from 1700 E. Ave. J and still been picked up by that tower, Harris said. The last time Kim was heard from was around noon March 25, when he called a friend seeking directions to a church retreat. According to cell phone signal records, Kim was not too far from the church retreat location, which was near 106th Street East and Fort Tejon Road, his niece said. His friend didn’t know the directions but called the church retreat facility in order to have someone call Kim.At 12:25 p.m., a church retreat worker called Kim and left a message, but Kim never retrieved the message. Charles F. Bostwick, (661) 267-5742 [email protected]
Fortunately for the Astros — and Lane — they didn’t have to go that route. Instead, they’ll head to St. Louis with their rotation fully rested for the NL championship series. Andy Pettitte is lined up to start Game 1 tonight. It’s all thanks to Clemens and Chris Burke. Clemens pitched three scoreless innings in his first relief appearance since 1984, and Burke homered in the 18th to end the longest postseason game ever and lift the Astros over Atlanta 7-6 on Sunday. HOUSTON — Sure, the Houston Astros had a plan in case Roger Clemens needed relief: Now pitching for the first time in his big league career, outfielder Jason Lane. “We finally have another opportunity with the Cardinals. We have a shot,” Houston second baseman Craig Biggio said. “You only get a few chances like this in your career.” Garner used every player on his 25-man playoff roster Sunday except Pettitte and Roy Oswalt. Oswalt won Saturday night in Game 3, which ended just 14 hours before the series-ending marathon started, and Pettitte would have been needed for a game Monday. The Astros still have Clemens and 20-game winner Oswalt for Games 2 and 3 in the NLCS. The only thing unclear was if the Rocket’s 44 pitches on two days’ rest would change the order. Pitching in a relief role for the first time since he was a rookie, Clemens atoned for his poor Game 2 start. He struck out four of the 11 batters he faced and allowed just one hit. If the game had dragged on longer, Garner was ready to use Lane, who last pitched in a game in 1999 for USC. And Clemens, who before throwing a pitch entered the game in the 15th in the first pinch-hitting appearance of his career, might have stayed in the game. “I’m sure they could hide me in the outfield. Why not?” Clemens said. The Astros are in the playoffs for the ninth time. The closest they came to the World Series was last season, when Clemens had an early lead in the seventh game of the NLCS against the Cardinals. It didn’t seem like the Astros would get another playoff chance this season when they were 15-30 in May. But Houston went 74-43 the rest of the way, clinched the NL wild card outright by winning on the final day of the regular season, and became the first team since the 1914 Boston Braves to make the playoffs after being 15 games under .500 in the same season. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 “Rocket might have thrown 10, 20 innings,” Houston manager Phil Garner said. “I think he was prepared to do whatever it took. And that’s the way the man is. I’ve never seen anybody like him. He’s amazing.” The Game 4 victory clinched the first-round series, and it took 5 hours, 50 minutes and eight Astros pitchers to win it. “I wasn’t thinking instant classic,” Houston third baseman Morgan Ensberg said. “I was thinking it was a grind-out dogfight that we had to figure out someway to come out on top.” Rather than traveling for a decisive Game 5 in Atlanta, the Astros got some much-needed rest Monday. Garner gave his club the day off. Next up is a rematch with St. Louis. The Cardinals won the NLCS in seven games last October to deny the Astros their first World Series appearance.