Quest to shave off vital seconds

Uxolo Seconday School's Namhla Linda powers Anele Bashimani in action in the boys under-17 200m sprint, at Mondays Falher way to the finish in the girls' 200m.

This year’s Western Province junior athletics championships kicked off at Vygieskraal in Athlone yesterday, Wednesday March 1, and athletes from Mandela Park’s Uxolo High School are hoping to make their mark and hopefully qualify for the Western Cape Champs.

Who can blame them? They had solid performances at the False Bay Zonal championships, at the same venue, earlier this week.
The school’s athletes have, in fact, been consistent over the years, dominating the inter schools competition and going all the way to the WP champs. They will, without a doubt, go to the event with their confidence levels high after Monday’s performances.

Coach Jerome Maregele said the plan, this year, is to do well in the WP champs and then make their mark in the Western Cape Champs in Paarl later this month and even qualify for the nationals.

Maragele noted that that was not going to be easy, especially considering that they were up against an even stiffer competition, compared to the inter-school and the zonals.

He did, however, make it clear that his finest athletes – and there is a number of them – had what it takes to stun the favourites at the WP champs.

One of these star athletes is Grade 11 pupil Namhla Linda. She was in fine form in the False Bay Zone, out-running her opponents en route to winning the girls’ under-19 200m sprint.

She is, however, not the only medal hopeful for the school as Bheki Khesa (boys under-17 300m and 400m) and Zikhona Khope (girls under-19 100m) have also been consistent this season.

Maregele said the school had solid preparations for the season, hence they were confident of positive results in the WP champs. He also noted that careful planning also worked for them.

“Our athletes did extremely well both at the inter schools and the zonal, where we were fortunate to have 23 athletes being selected to the False Bay zonal team,” he said

“Our one real chance of a medal and WP colours lies in the boys’ under-17 3 000m and 1 500m races where Bheki has consistently ran within qualifying time.

“We are also hopeful of picking up our first medal in the girls under-14 800m and 400m races, where Qhawekazi Mazeka is a real medal hopeful.”

Maregele also noted that the school was fortunate to be located close to Mandela Park Stadium, which has good track and field facilities. It was all up to them make good use of what they have, right on their door step.

“W use the venue in the morning from 6am until 8am. We also train in the evenings from 5pm to 7pm, to fine tune our athletes. But mostly, we train two hours daily at the Khayelitsha swimming pool and the community park next to our school,” he said.

The added advantage for the school, he said, was the fact that the pupils were passionate about athletics which, in turn, made the coaches’ jobs much easier.