In the sport of orienteering 2km is considered a sprint – regular races are 5km or 10km – and that’s not the only unique thing about it. It involves navigating on a map. Getting to the checkpoints on time, and in the right order, and outrunning your opponents who are trying to get to the final destination before you.
And David Newton is very good at it. He came first in his age group at the Gauteng Provincial trials last weekend and is awaiting news of provincial representation.
“Orienteering is a bit like motor rallying, except you are on foot,” he explained. “You wear cross-country kit and are armed with a map and an e-remit tag and you have to navigate yourself around the course, checking in at all the designation points.
“It’s a new sport in South Africa, although it’s very big in Europe and we have only been doing it at Jeppe since 2014.”
Under the circumstances, David said, Jeppe did very well to finish 5th in the 12-school league this season. “We started off well, winning our home race, but then were unlucky to be disqualified a few times before finishing strongly to come 5th overall.”
It’s a sport David really likes, as it involves both mental and physical ability. “I intend carrying on with it by joining a club next year and maybe getting higher honours one day.”
The sport is alive and well at Jeppe, the numbers are growing and David predicts a bright future at the school for it.
And, being an all-rounder, David followed his success out on the course with a Prestige (90 % to 100%) award at the Speech and Drama College of SA “Speak the Speech” competition on Monday night. “I had to learn and recite Al Pacino’s monologue from Scent of a Woman and it went quite well,” he said.
David Newton is also an accomplished actor. He doesn’t mind trying his hand at all sorts of things, and he invariably does Jeppe proud.