School athletes vie for provincial colours

Portland Highs Chad Smith heads down the final stretch towards the final of the boys under-15 800m race at Saturdays WP championships, at Parow Stadium. With the competition fierce, a sixth-placed finish in the final, was not enough to see him through to the next round. The action now moves to Paarl with the best in the province battling it out at the Western Cape championships at Dal Josafat Stadium for a spot on the Western Cape team set to compete at the national championships.

Picture: Fuad Esack

There was a lot at stake as the athletes battled it out for spots in the Western Cape High Schools athletics championships, to take place at Dal Josaphat Sports field in Paarl this coming weekend.

The athletes taking part in the WP championships were selected from different zones, which had their successive championships from the beginning of the year.

The Parow weather was conducive for athletics and the fans, mostly parents and teachers, were out in their numbers, in anticipation of some explosive action.

It was then up to the players to show what they were made of. And they did deliver, keeping the fans, who packed the main grandstand, on their feet.

They were there representing the Northern Zone, the Table Bay Zone and the Southern Zone.

And, as it has been in previous years, the Northern Zone was well represented in the championships.

The pupils from up north dominated a number of events, with youngsters from areas such as Parow, Bellville, and the far north, repeatedly coming back to the podium.

A brief look a the final team that will battle it out in the Western Cape championships this coming weekend, reveals that more than 100 athletes come from the Northern Zone. The likes of Monje Theart, from DF Malan High School, for instance, continued to dominate the shorter distances.

She will be running in the girls’ under-17 100m and 200m distances. She is, without a doubt, one of the favourites to go all the way to represent the province at the nationals, later this year.

Tygerberg High School’s Hannah Stephens, on the other hand, will be on a mission of her own, as she will look to make the qualification time for the nationals too.

And, having ran in the same competition last year, the youngster goes there with loads of experience. She will be running in the girls’ under-15 200m distance.

Having said that, however, the northern athletes didn’t really have it easy as their counterparts from the other zones kept them on their toes. St Cyprian’s School’s Zinaam Klaasen, who represented the Table Bay Zone, was able to match the northern contingent.

She is, for the second year running, also going to represent WP in the Western Cape championships, in the girls’ under-19 100m and 200m distances.

Following the weekend’s gruelling WP championships at Parow, the WP High Schools’ Athletics executive committee gathered on Sunday to select the team that will battle it out in the WC championships.

Western Province High Schools Athletics (WPHSA) chairman Deon Wertheim, said 333 athletes from under-19 boys and girls were selected. Describing the team as the cream of the crop, Wertheim also noted the athletes did well to be where they are, especially considering the challenges they had to go through to be among the province’s finest.

“The team that was selected after the weekend’s championships is made up of the best athletes from the Western Province. They come from different zones and we made sure we treated them equally,” he said.

“I think the efforts of parents and teachers have paid off. And we know that they will represent us with distinction in Paarl, come this weekend,” he said.