Speedster Raines on opponents’ parade

Wynberg-based SW Athletics Academy's Raine Halvorsen in action.

With the sectional and zonal athletics done, it is down to the business end of the Western Province high schools’ athletics season.

This will see all the top athletes from the Northern, Southern, Table Bay and False Bay zones do battle at the Western Province high schools’ junior championships, at Vygieskraal Stadium, in Athlone, today.

Among the top contenders eyeing a spot in the provincial side is Raine Halvorsen, 15, from Herschel Girls’ who finished first in the girls’ under-15 100m sprint and the 90m and 300m hurdles events at the Southern zone championships, at Vygieskraal Stadium, last week.

Raine, a Grade 9 pupil won the same events at the inter-schools last week, at the Bellville Velodrome. She now hopes to repeat her performances at the WP high schools’ junior championships.

However, the youngster will have her work cut out as she might go up against Marga van der Linde from DF Malan High School in Bellville. Marga was crowned northern zone champion in the girls’ under-15 200m sprint, 90m and 300m hurdles events, at the Bellville Velodrome, at the weekend.

The two did battle at the WPA League 2 meet in the women’s 100m hurdles, at the Parow athletics track, last month.

Marga won the gold medal in a time of 14:63 seconds, followed by Juli Verciul from Bellville Athletics Club in a time of 14.68 seconds and Raine finished in third place in a time of 16.06 seconds.

Raine said she is determined to make the Western Province team.

“I am well aware of the strength of the northern suburbs athletes as I have run against them at club level and have a good idea of what to expect.

“I made the Southern Zone team for a reason, and hopefully my best will be enough to be among the best athletes in the province,” she said.

Raine, a member of the SW Athletics Academy, in Wynberg, said she will always remember the first time she stood on the podium, at the inter-catholic athletics meet, at the Bellville Velodrome, when she was in Grade 2.

“It was special because we got to march around the track and wave to the crowd and I came first in my event,” said the former Springfield convent school pupil whose main goal is to qualify for the South African high schools’ championships, in Durban, later this month.

“I am mentally and physically strong. I trust in my training methods and ability to achieve good results and times,” she said.

Her coach Sakeena Williams said she is proud of Raine’s performances and hopes she can continue her good form.

“Raine from the tender age of 10 was and still is a go getter. At training she is completely focused on the task at hand and never misses a training session,” she said.

Williams said one of the reasons why the Northern Zone dominates at the Western Province championships was because their athletes trained throughout the year and most of them belong to clubs, where they receive extra training.

“In the southern suburbs most athletes only practice in the first three months of the year which is not ideal.

“If athletics can be among the dominant sports in the southern suburbs we will do much better in major competitions. Their is potential in the southern suburbs,” she said.