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Palframan holds records

Justine Palframan

Justine Palframan

Thursday, 2 August 2012 – Justine Palframan broke the 400m South African Junior record that stood for 29 years, at the World Junior Championships that took place from 10-15 July in Barcelona, Spain; and is a promising athlete for the future of athletics.

The 18 year-old from Eshowe in Kwazulu-Natal trained with father and coach, Steve Palframan, for the World Junior Championships in Barcelona.

Myrtle Simpson-Grobler’s South African record of 51.89sec was the target. “In the end the race was so fast that I didn’t place for a medal, but I was delighted to achieve a personal best and the record,” said Palframan after returning from Spain.  Her time of 51.87sec placed her fifth in the final.

“Coincidently Myrtle also ran in Barcelona at the Olympics in 1992 on the same track. She is definitely one of the all-time greats in South African athletics,” said the new record holder.

“I am sad about my record being broken, because I always say that an athlete is finished with athletics when his/her record gets wiped from the record books,” said Myrtle Simpson (Grobler), who is now the athletics organizer at Hoërskool Oos-Moot in Pretoria. “But, the fact that it took our country 29 years to break the record tells you that something is wrong.  It is either the coaching or the motivation to work hard, because I believe that we do have the talent.” According to Grobler, athletes used to train twice a day.

With the dream of competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Palframan trains twice a day, doing exercise and core training in the mornings.  Most of her training however takes place on the hockey fields at Eshowe High School without the motivation of a training partner.  Mental training is also included twice a week.  She starts every week by running hills.  Mid-week training includes back-to-back 200m races or harder 300m’s.

“My goals are to improve my strength and speed endurance for the 400m and 200m. I would like to continue improving my times over these distances and achieve world class senior times,” says Palframan.

As most other athletes, Palframan started with athletics at an early age at primary school level, and was included in the Kwazulu-Natal schools team for the first time at the age of nine. Palframan started her professional athletics career in 2008 when she represented South Africa at the Southern Region Youth Championships, winning gold in the 400m.  Two bronze medals (200m and 400m) were added to her collection at the Zone 6 Junior Games in Potchefstroom in the same year.

2009 was the year for Palframan (then 15) to win the SA title in the 200m and also silver in the 400m when she competed against Anri Steyn.  She went on to win both events in the Schools Championships in Durban before representing South Africa at the World Youth Championships in Italy.  Her 54.55sec in the final of the Championships secured her a finish just outside medal territory.

In 2010, she represented South Africa in the 200m at the World Junior Championships in Canada, but failed to proceed to the final.  At the end of the year she represented South Africa at the Zone 6 games in Manzini, Swaziland in the 200m, where she broke the 400m South African Youth record.

She finished second at the African Championships in 2011 in the women’s 400m. 2012 has undoubtedly been a very successful year as she not only won the SA junior Championships, but also the SA Senior Championships in the women’s 400m.  Her time in the Senior Championships was recorded at 52.33sec, while she won the Junior Championships in 53.51sec.

Justine has always been sporty and comes from an athletics family.  Every year she has represented the KZN Schools swimming team in the 50m backstroke and freestyle and proceeded to the senior Nationals in 2010.  Other than that, first team school and club hockey, as well as tennis, are some of the sporting codes that Palframan shone in.  Both parents competed in athletics for KZN (her mother competed in 100m and 200m whilst her father did 200m and 400m) Her brother and sister also do athletics.

Next year she hopes to study Sports Science at Stellenbosch, continue training but keeping her eye on her goal of competing at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

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