Cape Town - Elite athletes and top coaches gave thumbs up to the maiden Super School Series whose last leg culminated to a Grand Finale at the Tuks Athletics Stadium of the University of Pretoria in Tshwane last Saturday.
The Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool, Menlo Park High School girls and mixed team all claimed the coveted title of SA’s Best Athletics School in their respective categories in the grand finale where an enthralling display of school’s track and field competition was witnessed, attracting an array of Athletics enthusiasts including top athletes and coaches.
This is what some of the top athletes and coaches in the country had to say.
Sokwakhana “Soks” Zazini elite male 400m Hurdles athlete who won 2018 World U20 Championships, 2017 World Youth Champions, 2018 African U20 Championships and a silver medallist at the 2019 World University Games in 400m H, the 4x 400m H, said: “It’s a stepping stone for upcoming stars because it’s all about representing your school with pride and representing yourself as an athlete. I remember when I was still in school, it used to be a big thing and people would perform their utmost best to be part of the team and that helped me to grow as an athlete. And with the dedication and love I have for the sport, it made me one of the best in the country and the world, and all that started with school athletics. So, I really encourage youngsters to participate in such events because it offers one great exposure in the sport.
Luxolo Adams, a silver medal winner in Men's 200m at the inaugural 2018 Athletics World Cup and bronze medal at the 2018 African Championships (200m): “I come from the rural area of Burgersdorp near Welkom in the Free State where coincidentally, I stay a stone throw away from Zazini, whom I grew up with and who is still my training partner. I have had to work very hard to make a name for myself and it all started at school where I had the pride of representing my school. Participation is what groomed me to eventually represent my country with honour. The Super School Series is a great initiative that brings back memories.”
Geraldine Pillay-Viret, who is coaching at St Benedict's College, is a silver medallist at the 2006 African Championships (200m) and 2006 Commonwealth Games 100m silver medallist and bronze medallist in 200m. She won the 200m and bronze in the 100m at the 2004 African: “The Series is a brilliant concept where athletes compete in their school colours at a national level, something that had not happened in SA until now. It also cultivates a sense of school pride and school spirit amongst Athletes and spectators. This, I have witnessed in Jamaica during my training stint in 2006/2007 (as an athlete). When the Jamaicans had their national schools championships, schools from all over the island compete in this prestigious Athletics competition where the best school is crowned at the end of the championships. This platform also prepares the individual young high school athlete for the big stage. I must commend the organisers for putting together such a world class high school event. This event will definitely become one of the biggest events on the calendar for high schools.”
Enoch Skosana, a respected former track and road running athlete, now coach of Nedbank Skosana Development Club, in Tshwane: “This competition will help development of upcoming athletes and motivate other schools to have Track and Field events in their Athletics programmes, most importantly in rural areas and townships. As a coach, the event motivates me to go out and help townships and schools in rural areas to challenge the Series.”
Paul Gorries, the national coach for relays and winner of 200m, 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay at the 1999 African Junior Championships and gold medallist at 2000 World Junior Championships: “The exposure was good for younger athletes and the TV coverage created needed awareness. The competition itself was well organised. Going forward, I would like to see relays as part of the programme, of course. The programme needs to be reviewed. It was way too long.”
- Athletics SA