Princeton High old boy looks to go one better

KEAGAN MITCHELL

Former Princeton High School sprinter, Tahriq Welcome,16, from Westridge, could have not ask for a better start to the athletics season when he finished first and second in the boys under-17 400m and 200m respectively, at the Table Bay zonal championships, at Vygieskraal Stadium, in Athlone, on Saturday.

However, he was unable to repeat his performance in the 100m after he came fourth.

Tahriq qualified for this week’s Western Province Championships, at the same venue.

Last month the youngster won gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m to he helped Lansdowne-based Cape Sports Academy to fourth place at the WP Table Bay Zone Section C high schools athletics meeting, at the Green Point track.

A member of Ultra Athletics Club, which trains at Vygieskraal, he has already competed in a number of club competitions this year.

“The 100m final was the most competitive and I pushed myself ahead of the others. I prefer the longer sprinting distances such as the 200m and 400m because I am slow out of the blocks – something which I will be working on,” he said.

The lanky sprinter will hope to go one step better than last year after he made WP team but failed to qualify for a spot in the Western Cape team.

“The athletes from Boland were my biggest competition last year.

“I have to improve on my times by at least a full second to beat them but I believe with my support structure I am going to do much better, “ he said.

It is no surprise that the youngster is excelling in the sport as his mother Zoghrah has her South African colours in sprinting.

“I decided to follow her footsteps because she understands what is takes to be a good athlete.

“She always reminds me that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible,” he said.

Like his role model, world 400m champion, Wayde van Niekerk, the young sprinter also hopes to defy the odds and be crowned champion.

“I would love to be where he is one day and I believe if I can continue to do well, I can do that,” he said.

His mother said he is a pleasant and determined young man outside of athletics and loves to spend time with his family.

“My eldest son Sieraaj did athletics in school as well and whenever we went to one of his competitions, Tahriq would say his going to be like Sieraaj,” she said