Wayde van Niekerk’s primary school teacher and athletics coach is‚ naturally‚ ecstatic at his victory.
Ashley Field was there when Van Niekerk competed in his first race at Simonsberg Primary School in Kraaifontein‚ Cape Town.
He was just seven-years-old and Field knew then already that he was destined for greatness.
“He just stood out‚ you could see the class already coming through. So I could not wait until he got to the under 9 or under 10 [age group] to participate in the interschools‚’’ said Field‚ now a teacher at Excelsior Primary School in Bellville‚ after Van Niekerk clinched the gold in the 400 m at the World Championships in Beijing.
When contacted on Monday morning — after the 24-year-old won gold at the Olympics in the 400m and set a new world record — Field remarked: “So proud of that boytjie. Absolutely amazing’’.
The teacher said he was a ‘’very quiet‚ unassuming boy’’ who worked hard at his sport.
“Sometimes you just know there is not much you can do other than encourage because he was loaded with talent. All I did was harness it.’’
– TMG Digital