Promising 800m high school athlete has big ambitions


Gugulethu middle distance runner Anitha Nonene, 17, was in fine form on the track this season, finishing fourth in the girls’ under-19 800m, at the South African high schools’ championships, in Bloemfontein, in March.

A week before the championships, the former Gugulethu Athletics Club member finished second at the Western Cape Championships, at Green Point Stadium, producing a seasonal best time of 2min20secs. That was the first time she was beaten this season.

Earlier this year, she won the girls’ under-19 800m at the inter-schools, Northern Zone championships and the Western Province championships, at Vygieskraal Stadium, in Athlone.

Anitha, a Grade 12 pupil at the Western Cape Sports School in Kuils River, made the Western Cape team on four occasions in the 800m event and, since 2012, for cross country.

She said she believes the experience gained at national competitions will enable to bring home a medal or two, come next year.

The youngster has a personal best time of 2min18secs, which she achieved at the WP championships, at the Bellville Velodrome, in 2014.

Summarising the track and field season that was, Anitha said the competition was tough and challenging but believes she will have something to prove come next year.

“Like my friend Taswell Damons would say, it is all in the mind and you just have to put your mind to it. My time was good enough to see me qualify for nationals however the competition was tough.

“I know what I did wrong and I will fix all my mistakes,” she said.

She credits her coach Duane Fortuin who she said has not been a coach to her but like a second father.

“He has been there for me even when I need a shoulder to cry on. My teammates have always cheered me on come win or lose. Most importantly my father Nelson Mvundla has supported me every step of the way and tries his best to be at all my competitions,” she said.

Athina said what she enjoys most about athletics is that she gets to experience new things and meet new people.

“These people become your friends after a time but on the track it’s all down to business,” she said.

She said a few of her friends would say running is not a sport because anyone can run. Her reply would be then why everyone isn’t champions.

“My point is that putting your mind to what you are passionate about and believing in yourself takes you places.

“It is what you are doing about it,” she said.

For the youngster, it all started at Nobantu Primary School in Gugulethu, and once she saw she was doing well she took it a step further and joined Gugulethu Athletics Club.

“I did well in primary school and became fond of doing the sport.

“If you put your mind to what you are passionate about and believe in yourself, it will take you places,” she said.

On the academic front, Anitha hopes to further her studies at UWC and study sport psychology and be a part of their athletics team.

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