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Jamaican Roots Athlete Wins 400-M Final For US


Phyllis Francis of the United States celebrates after winning gold in the Women’s 400 metres final during day six of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 9, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

By NAN Sports Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Aug. 10, 2017: The 25-year-old athlete who won gold in the women’s 400-m finals at the IAAF World Championships in London Wednesday has Jamaican roots.

Queens-born Phyllis Francis’ father is Jamaican and she once was part of the Awesome Power Track Team led by Jamaican Sean Phillips, and Team Jamaica Bickle, led by Irwine Clare, Sr. O.D., News Americas has learnt.

Francis ran 49.92 in London yesterday to take the gold ahead of Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser and the US’ Allyson Felix. She managed to complete a come from behind win over The Bahamas’ Shauae Miller-Uibo, who led for most of the race and looked like a clear winner before losing appearing to stumble and momentum with just some 20-m to go.

Miller-Uibo had to settle for fourth in 50.49 as Francis seized the day, the chance and the title – not for the Caribbean but for Team USA.

Francis was a student at Catherine McAuley High School in Brooklyn and went on to graduate from the University of Oregon in 2014 on a scholarship. At last year’s Olympics, she placed second in the 400-m running a personal best time 49.94 behind Team USA teammates Felix, and won a gold medal in the 4×400 meters in Rio.

In 2010, Phyllis Francis and her sister Claudia were as members of Team Jamaica Bickle at the Gibson Relays in Jamaica, which Clare at the time called “Jamaica’s version of the Penn Relays.”  The all-star squad won two relays at the prestigious Relays, smashing one meet record.

“It’s amazing,” Francis told IAAF.com after her win Wednesday. “I’m so excited. It is such an amazing feeling. Being world champion sounds pretty cool. This win has not hit me yet, but I guess it will tomorrow when I wake up. When I went down the home straight, I just believed in myself and stayed patient. I just knew what I was capable of doing, so I stuck to my race model. At the finish line I was surprised. I thought I was second or third, but then they told me, ‘You are first’. That is crazy.”