Captain’s log: upping our game in 2017

Kraaifonteins Marcello Pienaar captained DF Malan to a second-place finish in last weeks MTBS athletics meet while raking in the most points in his own division. Here he is on his way to victory inhe boys under-19 110m hurdles event.

DF Malan High School finished last week’s MTBS athletics meet in second place, after Stellenberg were crowned champions, at Green Point, but it was an inprovement from last year’s third place and they didn’t walk away empty handed as they were also crowned singing competition champions, a feat all on its own.

Of course, they were not the only schools who took part in the event as Bellville and Tygerberg high schools completed the line-up.

Of the 150 athletes that represented DF Malan at the MTBS athletics meet, 68 of them qualified for the Western Province Northern Zone championships, to be held later this month at the Bellville Velodrome.

Among DF Malan’s star performers was team captain Marcello Pienaar, 18, from Kraaifontein, who was crowned champion in the boys’ under-19 110m hurdles, long jump and high jump. He was also part of the 4x100m relay that won gold.

To top off the youngster’s day, he won the award for best under-19 athlete and scored the most points in his age group.

Marcello said he is honoured to have won those awards, especially winning them in his final year of school.

“I could not have done it without the support of my school. The MTBS has to be one of the standouts in my school career and I am glad I made the most of it,” said the Grade 12 pupil who will look to emulate his performance at the Zonal champions.

However, he will have his work cut out for him as he is most likely to face the Western Cape Sport School’s Darren Riddles who came third in the boys’ under-19 110m hurdles at the South African high school’s championships last year.

Darren, a teammate of Marcello’s at Bellville Athletics Club, also came second at the Athletics South Africa (ASA) open championships and fourth at the ASA junior championships, last year.

“The Northern Zone champs are not going to be easy but I am going to give it my best. Darren is a great 110m hurdler and if I am going to get close to him I will need to bring my A game,” he said.

Last year, Marcello had a great season on both track and field, finishing first and second in the boys’ under-17 high jump and 110m hurdles, respectively, at the MTBS.

He placed second in the boys’ under-17 high jump at the Northern Zone and Western Province champions. However, he could not repeat his performance at the Western Cape championships, where he finished the boys’ under-17 high jump in fourth place and just missed qualification to nationals.

“I could not have asked for a better season than reaching my dream of achieving my Western Province colours. The plan for this year is to go one step further and represent the Western Cape at nationals and hopefully to come away with a medal,” he said.

Marcello said his fondest memory was making his comeback to athletics last year after he had a knee surgery, in 2015.

“I am proud of my performances since my knee injury, I did not expect back to be so soon on the track but I recovered quicker than expected,” he said.

Marcello said he wants to get the best out of each competition and credits his family, coach Alroy Dixon and teammate and Olympic semi-finalists Antonio Alkana.

“They all inspire me in different ways,” he said.

Despite coming second, head of athletics Alroy Dixon said he was impressed with his athletes performances after they did much better than last year.

“My athletes did a great job and we are getting closer to beating Stellenberg. We hope to have a winter programme going for all athletes,” he said