Top spots for Wynberg Girls’ sprinter

Lara Johnson in action in Bellville earlier this week.

Wynberg Girls’ and Boys’ high schools were the surprise packages at this year’s Western Province High Schools’ Southern Zone Section A athletics meet, finishing in second place with 392 points behind champions Mondale High School with 542 points, at the Bellville Velodrome, earlier this week.

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

Among Wynberg’s star performers was Lara Johnson who came first in the double, in the girls’ under-17 100m and 200m sprint events.

The youngster now hopes to work on her times ahead of the Southern Zone championships, at the Vygieskraal Athletics Stadium, tomorrow.

“I feel blessed and thankful to be able to participate and have the performance level that I have.

“The competition was tough but I focused on myself and achieving my goals for the race. It will be me against the clock on Friday, so a strong finish will be important,” she said.

Lara started the season on a high when she came first in the girls’ under 18 100m and 200m sprints, at the Western Province League 1 meet, at the Parow athletics track, earlier this month.

“This was just the start I needed to my track and field season,” she said.

Already an accomplished athlete while at primary school, Lara has represented the Western Province team on four occasions, in 2012, 2013, 2014 and last year.

She is now on a mission to qualify for the Western Cape team that will take part in the South African High Schools’ championships, in Durban, next month.

“Every year I am getting better on the track and field and the competition gets tougher and tougher.

“The plan is to go all the way to nationals and hopefully make the finals of my events.

“I remember getting my first pair of spikes at the age of 12 and the week after I got it I came first at the inter-schools for my sprint events,” she said.

The youngster credits her coach Sakeena Williams and parents Mary and Allister for all their support and always going the extra mile for her.

“My parents would be at most of my competitions and that extra bit of support will always help. My coach will always go out of her way for me,” she said.

Lara is inspired by Kraaifontein-born Wayde van Niekerk who won gold in the 400m sprint, at last year’s Rio Olympics. Van Niekerk stole the show when he broke American Michael Johnson’s record when he ran 43.03 seconds.

“Wayde is getting better at every competition he takes part in and I hope to follow in his footsteps. Anything is possible if you work hard towards reaching your goals,” she said.

Head of athletics at Wynberg Girls’ High School, Sakeena Williams said this was Wynberg’s best ever finish at the inter-schools event.

“I am proud the way my athletes performance. Each of them gave their 110% at the competition and at training.

“Our school has always finished in fifth or sixth position, so for our team to come second shows that the hard work has paid off. We are now working towards first place next year,” she said.