When Gabriel Zeid jumped 14,18m in the under-16 triple jump at the Top 10 athletics meeting in Naboomspruit last weekend it was the fourth time that he has gone further than the school record this year. It won’t count as a new record, however, because it wasn’t broken in a mass participation event, but he started off at 13,40m earlier in the season and seeing that he is still new at the event we can expect a lot more from him in the years ahead.
“I was always a long jumper,” he explained, “and then Mr Gittens came to me before the interhigh last year and told me we needed someone for the triple jump, so I gave it a go. I caught on quite quickly and now it’s my favourite event.”
Gabriel is part of Jeppe’s elite athlete programme, so he does athletics in the fourth and first terms, in addition to the interschool season. They are a smaller team of athletes who travel to meetings at this time of the year.
“Next weekend is the last one of the year, in Potchefstroom,” he said. “I am loving the experience. We travel together on long bus trips and have become a very tight-knit group and are all good friends. The teachers and coaches have been very supportive. Mr Gittens organised a coach at UJ to give me specialist help.”
Gabriel played fullback for the under-16A rugby team this year, so he is a proper Jeppe all-rounder. He is loving it at the school, he says, and can’t wait to get going again in the new year.
It was a good day for the Jeppe athletes at the Naboomspruit event. Apart from Gabriel’s 1st place, Lesedi Moloto won the under-15 long jump, Hopewell Nkosi won the under-16 3000m and Nthuthuko Ndimande won the under-17 1500m.
There were also two second places. Lesedi was second in the triple jump and Kananelo Moshe came second in the under-14 100m hurdles.