Updated 26 February 2008
Janice JOSEPHS, South Africa (long jump/heptathlon)
Born 31 March 1982, Cape Town 1.69m/57kg.
The second of 3 children, she has a brother (27) and a sister.
Coach: William Banks; Club: Maties AC, Stelllenbosch.
A versatile and dedicated born and bred Cape Town girl, Janice Josephs has devoted most of her life to her favourite sport of athletics. It all started at the age of 11, when she became part and parcel of the South African track and field scene. A natural runner and jumper, she showed an early interest in multi events with a particular love for the hurdles, long jump and sprints.
Josephs’ talent and quality was clear from the outset and she became a regular in teams for international school and IAAF meetings in all parts of the world. It was a good learning experience but it was perhaps asking too much too soon for her to perform well and develop, so she took a break in 2001 and 2002 and returned with great determination in 2003. Despite her age, she is a seasoned traveller who has just required her fourth passport.
As a competitor, Josephs has grown in stature over the last few years. Having made her name in heptathlon circles, with one national junior and two senior records, she decided in 2007 to make the long jump her main event.
“I really enjoyed the seven-eventer and its challenges, and I will most probably do a few more in Europe in years to come,” Josephs said. “But it has limited participation opportunities and, because of a love to compete more regularly on the international stage, I switched my focus to the long jump, which I consider my best individual event, early in 2007.”
The lack of heptathlon competitors in South Africa also influenced the switch. And she had no regrets about her decision as she won the 2007 All Africa Games title, in Algiers, with an impressive personal best of 6.79m, which opened the door for her to the World Championships, in Osaka.
Josephs’ main aims now include reaching the Olympic final, winning a major medal, and adding the South African long jump record to her heptathlon mark of 6181 points set at the Commonwealth Games, in Melbourne, in 2006. She is confident of succeeding after six years’ guidance from coach William Banks.
Training 2 to 3 hours a day, preferably in the morning at the Vygieskraal track, or at Stellenbosch, Josephs has no boyfriend and devotes all her time to athletics, although she loves going to the movies regularly. She spends a lot of time with her parents, who live with her in Muizenberg.
As a proud product of Steenberg High School, Josephs has the distinction of having represented South Africa at the World Youth (1999), World Junior (2000) and senior World Championships (2005/2007), the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and all major African events. She is looking ahead keenly now to the World Indoor Championships, in Valencia.
Heptathlon: 6,181 pts (2006);
Long Jump: 6.79m (2007).
Other events: 100m – 11.36 (2005); 200m – 23.15 (2004); 800m – 2:10.61 (2006); 100m hurdles – 13.30 (2004); High Jump – 1.70m (2003); Shot Put – 12.00 (2006); Javelin Throw – 44.97 (2005).
Long jump/Heptathlon: 1998: 5.58m / --; 1999: 5.81m /---; 2000: 5.98m / 5,466 pts; 2003: 6.17 / 5,740 pts; 2004: ---- /6,127 pts; 2005: 6.50 / 5,958; 2006: 6.54 / 6.181 pts; 2007: 6.79 / ----; 2008: 6.63m / ----.
2000: 1st Southern African Schools (100/200)
2004: 19th Olympic Games (Hep)
2004: 2nd African Championships (Hep)
2006: 1st African Championships (Hep)
2006: 5th Commonwealth Games (Hep)
2007: 1st All Africa Games (Long Jump)
Prepared by Gert le Roux for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008.