Star sprinter aims to own the track

KEAGAN MITCHELL

Bianca van der Vyver, 15, a Grade 9 pupil at Stellenberg High School, has qualified for the Western Province High Schools’ athletics championships.

This, after finishing second in the girls’ under-15 100m and 300m hurdles events, at the Northern Zone high schools’ athletics championships, at Green Point, at the weekend.

The young speedster will now look to emulate or improve her performance as she competes at the WP Championships ,which started today at Vygieskraal Stadium, in Athlone.

She said this was an important event for her as it will take her a few steps closer to reaching her dream of representing the Western Cape at national championships.

It’s hard to believe that barely a year ago her dream was shattered when she was ruled out by injury after tripping on a hurdle at the national top 10 schools’ competition, in Pretoria.

However, thanks to a strong fighting spirit and some physiotherapy, Bianca is back on the track.

“The injury made me a stronger person. Hopefully, this year my dream of running at national championships will come true,” she said

In February, at the annual athletics competition between Stellenberg, neighbours DF Malan, Tygerberg and Bellville high schools, called MTBS, at the Jan Burger stadium, in Parow, Bianca showed everyone who’s queen on the track.

She powered her way to first place in the girls’ under-15 100m sprints, 300m hurdles and long jump events to help her schools’ athletic squad retain their championship title.

“I am happy with my performance, because I gave my everything.

“ I can improve on my technique in hurdles and long jump as I have a lot more to learn. I will approach the Western Province champs with confidence and enthusiasm. All I can do is give my best,” she said.

A member of the Bellville Athletics Club, Bianca earned her Western Cape colours in 2014 in the 200m hurdles event, finishing in a disappointing 10th spot at the national championships.

“The competition is extremely tough at the national level. If I do reach nationals I will make sure to do the warm-ups and cool-downs with more precision, as it has a great influence on your performance,” she said.

An athlete who thrives on the pressure before the bang of the starter’s pistol sets her off, Bianca says she also enjoys hanging out with her teammates.

“I love the camaraderie among the athletes. We all support each other, and even though this is an individual sport, the sportsmanship among the athletes is amazing,” she said.

She is inspired by her father, Paul, who was diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago, who taught her to always persevere.

“No matter how much pain he was in, he picked himself up and went to work every day.

“He always tells me to be positive and smile no matter what the outcome was,” she said.