Interschool athletics competitions are on hold at the moment because of the Covid-19 restrictions, but that has not stopped Jeppe’s elite athletes from training, as they always do at this time of the year.
The “Top 10” meetings are not taking place and the boys can’t compete for the school, but there have been opportunities for those who are members of clubs to compete and one of them – Tim Colby – has grabbed his chances with both hands.
Tim is in grade 12, and a boarder in Tsessebe House, but he lives in the Northern Free State and is a member of a club in Vanderbijlpark and has been participating in the high jump for them in recent weeks. And he has been doing very well. In his last outing he jumped 1,88m, which is just short of his personal best of 1,90 which he jumped just before the lockdown last year. “I’ve been improving with every outing,” he said, “and I’m hoping to do 2m next weekend, which is the qualifying height for the Junior National Championships.”
He has had two weeks off and has been training really hard, so Tim believes he is quite capable of reaching that height. “I’m competing as an under-20 this year because Athletics SA wants the under-18s to prepare for the Africa Junior Championships, an under-20 competition, in 2022,” he said.
Tim has always loved the high jump. He was seen being too short to be successful when he was in grade 8, but got better every year and was on the verge of really achieving when the season was called off in March 2020. “My height at that stage placed me 5th in the country in my age group, so I was really disappointed,” he said.
Tim played rugby at Jeppe in the junior age groups before repeated concussions forced him to give up. “That meant I could focus on athletics, though, and my improvement was due to the fact that I remained injury-free for a long time,” he said.
The secret of Tim’s success, according to him, is that winning is not the most important thing for him. “I love training and jumping,” he said, “If I have a bad day and fail, that’s not important. My competitors are amazed at how stress-free I am while they are all so nervous.”
A great attitude from a talented young man. We will be watching his progress with interest.