“Don’t run away from challenges, run over them.”
The sun rose over the beautiful valley as our athletes prepared for battle. This was no ordinary battle. Three herculean houses came together to compete for the title of Inter-house Athletics Champions.
Our gladiators wore colours that bore claim to their home legion. Those in blue represented Pegasus, those in red represented Griffin and those in yellow represented Phoenix.
The first call to action was the 80m sprints. The grade 8 boys were the first into battle. Stern looks and intimidating stares were par for the course as the athletes approached the start line. Head starter, Mr Jacobs gave the order. “On your marks, get set…bang!”
Each athlete burst into action, legs propelling them as fast as they possibly could. Deniel, with his long legs, burst into an early lead. For a brief moment it seemed that Ethan, Kyle, Akshay and Ashvir could keep up with him but alas, his speed was too much for them. Deniel had bragging rights after race 1.
The grade 8 girls followed the boys. While the boys dished out the stern looks, the girls were dishing out the daggers. Even Mr Jacobs looked a little scared. Bang went the gun! They were off, with Elena sneaking into an early lead. By the 50m mark Paige was clinging to a very slight lead. At the finish line it was Paige that took the victory. Points for Phoenix.
The rest of the senior sprints followed without much ado. Ethan Foxcroft winning in the Grade 9 boys race and Rachael Strydom winning the girls race. For the Grade 10s, Kallum Davis romped to victory for the boys and Shana Marreiros claimed victory in the girls’ race. The grade 11 boys race was a close run thing, with the Italian Stallion, Enzo Forgiarini being narrowly defeated by the bullet that is Shabir Hoosein. Leah Barbosa won the girls’ race, beating Taylor Robinson who finished second. For the Grade 12 boys, it was Tlhoni Mathe, leading from the off until the end. The grade 12 girls race was won by Jo-Anne Dryden, by only a narrow margin.
This brought us to the 100m sprints. The highlights were as follows:
- Elena Forgiarini won the girls race and Deniel Pungan dominated once again for the Grade 8s.
- Kenneth Ryder and Rachael Strydom won the grade 9 races.
- Shana ‘danced’ her way to victory and Renato cruised home for the Grade 10s.
- Craig Harron pipped Shabir, while Chichi Okereke won the girls race.
- Tlhoni completed the double as he won again in the Grade 12 race with Tayyiba Hoosein winning for the girls.
All the time, the field events (high jump and shot put) were taking place. Firstly, the high jump…
Now, it may seem like jumping over a horizontal bar, teetering on the edge of small ledge, willing a person to knock it off, is something anybody can do – rest assured, there is a skill to this. Some tried the forward dive, with mixed success. Others tried to hurdle the bar, also with mixed success but hilariously for the spectators some of the athletes managed to trip on the bar and landed face-first on the mats. The ‘Fosbury Flop’ still proved to be the most successful means of clearing the bar with any regularity.
The Grade 8s kicked things off once again. Torin, along with Akshay and Ashvir, our twin brothers must have some Kangaroo or perhaps Springbok genes within their DNA since they cleared the initial bar heights with consummate ease. Only at 1.2m did things become even a little challenging for the trio. The three jumpers pushed each other right until the end with Akshay eventually turning out as the winner, clearing a height of 1.32m.
This height was not bettered all day, even by our senior jumpers. Granted, we are all new to this event but the achievements of the Grade 8s must not be overlooked.
Off we go to the shot put.
The grade 8 girls tossed the shot almost 6 metres…not bad. The winner being Asma Paruk with a toss of 5.57m. The boys managed almost 9 metres with Luca Gomes tossing 8.89m. The grade 9s improved on that a little. Chanté Habib won for the girls with a toss of 7.6m and Lethabo Ramotsho tossing 8.89m. Starro Batalides won it in the Grade 10 boys section, tossing 9.43m. Lyati Claro won for the grade 12 boys with a toss of 12.68m and Samantha Shaer winning for the girls with a toss of 5.5m. It must be said that you can never tell whether an athlete will be a good shot putter until they have actually given it a go. Those we expect to throw far sometimes cannot do so and conversely, others we expect may not throw too far end up throwing much further than expected.
The relay athletes were then called into the cauldron. Relay is always the highlight of the day’s events. The smooth flow of the batten from athlete to athlete is really something to behold. Watching a relay race can be like watching poetry in motion, especially when the team is well drilled. Owing to the fact that not all age groups in each house could make up a complete team of four, we decided to make the relays a fun event, mixing athletes from different houses and age groups to ensure that everybody had an opportunity to participate. During the Grade 12 girls race, Emily wasn’t feeling up to running her leg of the relay so she called upon the next best person to fill in for her…Mr C. Preddy! An accomplished sprinter in his time but on this day the jeans and formal shoes did him no favours in trying to catch the leaders. Needless to say, he was rather ‘pooped’ after his exploits.
Our long distance runners then participated in an 800m race. It was remarkable to see the interest from our athletes, at times we had over 15 athletes participating in each race. Our grade 11 and 12 athletes are very well drilled in longer distance running since most of them compete in cross country events during the course of the year. Liam Tiplady excelled in the Grade 11 boy’s race while Chanté Habib performed really well in her race. Hats off to every athlete who participated in this longer event, 800m is a long way to run.
We ended off the day with some fun egg and spoon, and three-legged races. We had thought beforehand that the 15m distance over which the egg had to be carried was perhaps too short, we quickly found out that some learners couldn’t carry the egg more than a couple of metres before allowing it to fall off of the spoon. That being said, some learners were absolute naturals being able to run at a near sprint while keeping their hand, spoon and egg remarkably still. For some it seemed that they could stand on their head, jump up and down, dance around and still the egg would not budge from its perch on the spoon. Talent.
Of course, each event counts for points and so at the end of the day a winner was announced. Pegasus finished in third place, Griffin in second and our champions for 2017 were Phoenix. Congratulations to the Phoenix team members and to each and every athlete that participated on the day. It is through participation that we learn so much about not only ourselves but our peers as well.
Our inaugural inter-house athletics day was a massive success. Great fun was had by teachers and learners alike. We are already looking forward to our next athletics meeting so that we can demonstrate our gladiatorial athletics skills once again.