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It's all about genes, says Francis

If Asians countries have failed to produce a 100 meter sprinter of repute blame it on the genes, feels Samuel Adelebari Francis.

Updated:July 3, 2013, 3:54 PM IST
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It's all about genes, says Francis
If Asians countries have failed to produce a 100 meter sprinter of repute blame it on the genes, feels Samuel Adelebari Francis.
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Pune: If Asians countries have failed to produce a 100 meter sprinter of repute blame it on the genes, feels Samuel Adelebari Francis, a naturalised Qatari, who is the only 100 meter runner from Asia among 80-odd in the world to have run sub 10 seconds. "It's all about genes and no white man except for Christophe Lemaitre (of France) has run sub 10 seconds proves it," Francis, a Nigerian by birth who became a naturalised citizen of Qatar in 2007, told PTI.

"You have other factors like training facilities, preparations, the coaching and conditions and performance on that particular day, but the genetic makeup of an individual plays the major role," said 26-year-old Francis who is taking part in the 20th Asian Championships which gets underway at the Shiv Chhatrapati Stadium here today. Since the time American Jim Hines ran 9.95 seconds in 1968, 87 athletes have run the 100m dash in sub 10 seconds with the current world record standing at 9.58 seconds in the name of World and Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica in 2009.

Asia had to wait for 39 years to produce a 100m sprinter to clock sub 10 seconds before Francis ran 9.99 seconds in the 2007 Asian Championships in Jordan to erase Japanese Koji Ito's 10.00 second mark at the 1998 Asian Games. However, Ito still remain the fastest native Asian as Francis was a Nigerian-born. "I don't know why Asia took so long to produce a sprinter who can run sub 10 seconds. I feel proud of doing that and the fact that I am the only sprinter from Asia to have achieve the feat," he said.

"But that does not end there and I want to improve my timing though I don't know when will it come," he said. Asked about his immediate target, besides gunning for a gold in the ongoing Asian Championships, Francis said, "I want to reach the final in the World Championships in Moscow next month. I want to be among those eight to run in the final. From then, you never know anything can happen in a race." Francis, who returned from a long injury lay-off, said he would aim for the gold in Asian Championships here so that he can go to the World Championships in high spirit.

"Of course, I want to win the gold in the Asian Championships here also and it will not be easy. The defending champion Chinese (Su Bingtian) is here, also the Japanese youngster (Yoshihide Kiryu) ran 10.01 seconds recently," said Francis who returned to competition early this year after a hamstring injury in 2011. Francis has a season's best of 10.08 secs while his all-time second best is 10.03 seconds.

Asked why he chose to leave his country of birth and decided to take Qatari citizenship, Francis said, "Qatar has great facilities and I was offered to represent that country and so I took it up. Why not I take up the offer if I am offered good treatment and good facilities. Francis said that the facilities at the Shiv Chhatrapati Stadium have been good so far though he expressed concern at the unpredictable weather.

"The facilities have been good so far. The training track, the gym and other facilities are good. So far so good," he said. Asked about the weather with Pune experiencing intermittent rain and the possibility of the tracks being wet, Francis said, "If it rains during or just before the race it may affect the performance. It would be difficult to warm up the body to get the full speed. But otherwise the weather is nice and cool," he added.

Francis, who returned from a long injury lay-off, said he would aim for the gold in Asian Championships here so that he can go to the World Championships in high spirit. "Of course, I want to win the gold in the Asian Championships here also and it will not be easy. The defending champion Chinese (Su Bingtian) is here, also the Japanese youngster (Yoshihide Kiryu) ran 10.01 seconds recently," said Francis who returned to competition early this year after a hamstring injury in 2011.

Francis has a season's best of 10.08 secs while his all-time second best is 10.03 seconds. Asked why he chose to leave his country of birth and decided to take Qatari citizenship, Francis said, "Qatar has great facilities and I was offered to represent that country and so I took it up. Why not I take up the offer if I am offered good treatment and good facilities.

Francis said that the facilities at the Shiv Chhatrapati Stadium have been good so far though he expressed concern at the unpredictable weather. "The facilities have been good so far. The training track, the gym and other facilities are good. So far so good," he said. Asked about the weather with Pune experiencing intermittent rain and the possibility of the tracks being wet, Francis said, "If it rains during or just before the race it may affect the performance. It would be difficult to warm up the body to get the full speed. But otherwise the weather is nice and cool," he added.

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