Steenberg jumper sets the bar high

Duwayne's Davids snapped up gold in both high and long jump in the under-15 division.

Steenberg High School’s Duwayne Davids, 15, got his track and field season off to the perfect start when he won the boys’ under-15 high and long jump events, at the Western Province High Schools’ Southern Zone Section A athletics meet, at the Bellville Velodrome, on Monday.

Despite his school finishing in fourth place, behind South Peninsula, surprise packages Wynberg Girls’ and Boys’ and Mondale who are now champions for the past eight consecutive years, Duwayne outsmarted his opponents and made an impressive debut in high jump.

Of course, they were not the only schools who took part in the event. Heathfield, Grassdale, Fish Hoek, Plumstead and Herschel Girls’, completed the line-up.

Duwayne, from Steenberg, will look to better his performance at the Southern Zone championships, at Vygies-kraal Athletics Stadium, on Friday.

“My performances were better than last year’s inter-schools. The competition was not like I expected it to be but come zonals and the Western Province champs, it will be from a higher standard. I need to improve on my times and jumps ahead of Friday’s competition,” said Duwayne.

The former Steenberg Primary School pupil had a memorable season when he came fourth in the boys’ under-16 pentathlon at the Athletics South Africa senior championships, at the Coetzenburg athletics track, in Stellenbosch, last year. The event comprises 200m sprints, discus, javelin and 1 500m.

He started the 2016 track and field season with a bang when he came first in the boys’ under-14 100m and 300m hurdles.

However, he ended the school’s’ athletics season on a sour note when he came fourth at zonals for the same events which was not enough to see him qualify for the Western Province championships.

The youngster, a member of the South Peninsula Amateur Athletics Club, said the plan is to make the Western Cape Schools’ team that will take part at the South African High Schools’ championships, in Durban, next month.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself so I will take it one competition at a time and won’t be underestimating my opponents because anything can happen on the day,” he said.

Duwayne admires speedster Tyson Gay, who holds the American 100m sprint record of 9.69 seconds, making him the joint second fastest, along with Jamaican Yohan Blake in the history of the event.

The two are behind eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt who ran 9.58 seconds at the world championships, in Berlin, Germany, in 2009.

“Gay is one of the greatest athletes of all time, alongside Usain. I am going to miss his great performances once he retires,” he said.

Duwayne is inspired by his father Muizh Lewin, who has completed 12 Two Oceans and three Comrades marathons.

“I watched my father at a few of his road races that I attended and I could see how much those medals meant to him.

“That inspired me to take up athletics and at the age of five I did fun runs with my father but I only started doing athletics at school in Grade 3,” he said.

The youngster said his short-term goal is to complete school and do well at school athletics while he also hopes to get a chance to compete at the Olympics one day.