Justine Palframan was born to run. Her parents were both provincial athletes and her two siblings have provincial colours in swimming and athletics.
As a 14-year-old, she ran the 400m event in the under 17 age category in the 2008 South African Youth & Junior Athletics Championships, and finished second.
It’s difficult to keep track of the number of gold and silver medals the 20-year-old who grew up in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, has accumulated since then – gold (200m) and silver (400m) at the South African Youth Championships in 2009, silver (400m) at the South African Senior Championships in 2011, gold (400m) at the South African Senior Championships in 2012, and the list goes on.
Perhaps most significantly, in April this year Palframan raced to victory in both the 200m and 400m women’s events at the South African Senior Champs in Pretoria, recording her personal best time of 23.11 seconds in the former. She has since bettered that, running an impressive 23.02 seconds at a university meeting.
But success comes at a price and Palframan relocated from KZN to take up a sports bursary at Stellenbosch University, where she’s currently a second year sports science student, in order to better her chances of excelling on the track.
She trains hard and consistently, and has spent time in Jamaica on more than one occasion to train with some of the world’s best sprinters.
Palframan’s recent performances make her a strong contender for a place in the South African team for the African senior championships, which will take place in Morocco later this year.
She is considering going all the way to Europe to prepare for the competition. With her impressive levels of dedication, it’s no wonder that she believes that South African women sprinters have what it takes to excel on the international athletics stage.
“We are putting in the hard work – we just have to focus and train harder.” — Fatima Asmal