Justin Abana, 9, a Grade 3 pupil at Southfield Primary School is a little man with big dreams and well on his way to achieving them, following a fine performance at the national primary schools’ athletic championships, in Potchefstroom, a fortnight ago.
He wants to be the fastest man on the planet but for now, he’s the second fastest tiny sprinter over 80m, in his age group, in the country.
He’s been the school’s star of the show during this year’s athletic season, going unbeaten in the inter-schools, district, Western Province and Western Cape championships.
In the end it went down to the wire, at the national championships, a classic photo finish with a sprinter from Gauteng piping him to the post by a split second, earning him second spot on the podium and a silver medal around his neck.
Like most youngsters, Justin has a thing for video games, especially Fortnight and Fifa 22, his mother’s cuisine and watching television.
But what really gets him going is any opportunity to play footie with his friends and of course, sprinting from start to finish.
But he’s not just good on his feet and says he enjoys mathematics as it helps him to concentrate.
“I was very excited, he said,” when asked about his experience at the national championships and coming home with a silver medal. “I want to be the fastest man in the whole wide world,” he said with a slice of confidence way bigger than his pocket-sized stature.
School sports coach Chelsea-Lee Petersen believes the youngster has what it takes to go all the way.
“Justin loves running and playing soccer, he’s a hard worker and passionate about his sport. During our physical education sessions and at break times, we spotted great potential in him.
“His performances during the school’s inter-house programmes convinced everyone that he was the real deal. We just knew Justin was something special,” she said.
“We went to extra lengths to get him ready for all his races. We even had to train off site at tramways sports ground, Heathfield High and at Vygieskraal to give him the experience and prepare him accordingly. We worked extra hard by putting in before and after hours to make sure he was getting enough training,” she said.