SETTLERS Park Primary School athlete Xabiso Menze is a star in the making.
The Grade 7 pupil was placed first at the Dirk Brand athletic meeting last month with a time of 5min 1.34s in the 1500m race.
Two weeks later he took first place in the same distance at the PE West athletics meeting.
At the Metro athletics meeting on March 2 and 3, Xabiso blew away the competition with another No1 placing.
“I like to run a lot,” said the quiet 13-year-old who started running in Grade 2 because “it was fun”.
He is coached by teacher Noria Janse van Rensburg, who takes him for two training sessions a week – stairs, beach, water, grass and tar surface runs, including up-hills and down-hills.
Conditioning, stamina and inspiration are all part of Xabiso’s practice sessions.
He runs ankle deep in shallow sea water for 3km, as well as 100m sprints on the dry sand.
“Xabiso experiences this not only as a practice session, but as a lot of fun and enjoyment,” said head of athletics Nankie de Jager.
The multi-talented youngster participates in athletics, soccer, and cross-country throughout the year.
“He always gives his best, sets high goals and is a very enthusiastic young man,” said De Jager.
Xabiso is also a keen rugby player and, as can be expected, is very quick on the field.
“I get tired, but I want to get fitter so I don’t get tired as often,” he said.
The runner receives support from the school which has provided him with sportswear, food and transport.
“I am happy and grateful that they are helping me,” said Xabiso.
His next goal for this year is to participate in the SA National athletics meeting, and just to “carry on running”.