Portland High School’s athletics team have grown from strength to strength, and secured second position at the False Bay A Section inter-school’s athletics meet, earlier this year.
Portland High teacher, Romano Petersen, who’s one of five coaches on the athletics team, said they have now become one of the schools to beat in the False Bay zone.
He said when he arrived at the school four years ago, they were competing in the B Section.
The commitment shown by fellow teachers Anwar Ruiters, Mark Wilson, Abdul Nackerdien and Aubrey Isaacs played a huge role in their recent success on the track and field.
Despite not having the facilities in order to train, their 400m hurdles athlete Fazlin Jacobs and her teammates made use of the soccer fields at Portland Sports Grounds to practice their track events.
At the inter-school’s showdown, Westridge High School finished in top spot, 25 points ahead of Portland High, who were followed by Oval North High.
“Our school has always been active in track and field since the school’s inception in 1981. But, the past two years the athletes have done extremely well,” said Petersen.
“Last year Westridge took first position, and we were tied in second with Princeton High.
“Before we’d usually end much lower, but we are progressing and are definitely aiming to win it next year,” he said.
At the inter-school’s, 30 Portland High School pupils qualified to gothrough to the False Bay Zone Champs; with 17 of them excelling and earning a chance to compete at the Western Province Champs for a place on the WP team.
“Last year, we only had five athletes compete at the WP Champs and two of them got their WP colors – Asma Jacobs and Shalynn Don. Our aim for this year was to better that, but unfortunately things did not go according to plan at the weekend and Asma was the only one to make the WP team,” said Petersen.
“What helped us improve is that our athletics coaching team has become more enthusiastic about the sport. Also, we made a note of which athletes did well last year, and used them as the core of this year’s team.
“Our strategy was to use the previous team and improve in the areas where we were lacking,” he said.
The Portland High athletes trained five days a week for the three weeks leading up to the inter-school’s meet, where they received a helping had by former pupil Fabian Dearham – who’s currently studying sports management.
Meanwhile, promising athlete Fazlin “Speedy” Jacobs, 16, narrowly missed out on a spot on the WP 400m hurdles team.
She qualified through her heats but finished fourth in the final, one place away from a spot on the WP team.
The Grade 10 pupil does not only excel on the track, but also does well in ball playing sports and recently made the WP women’s under-18 rugby team.
“I made the WP athletics team for the 400m hurdles last year and was hoping to do so again. But now that the athletics are done, my focus will shift towards the WP rugby team as we prepare for our game against Boland, on March 18,” said Fazlin.