Stepping up to the big time

Alroy Dixon will set off for Angola as part of the SA junior athletics squad coaching staff.

Kuils River’s Alroy Dixon, 30, will get a taste of what it’s like to coach at international level when he jets off to Angola, with the South African athletics squad that will take part in the African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games, next month.

Dixon is among two coaches and managers who were selected by the Athletics South African (ASA) board to go along with the team.

The selection comes as no surprise as Dixon’s athletes at Bellville Athletics Club performed well at major competitions earlier this year and he hopes they can do even better next year.

South Africa will have a total of 119 athletes that will take part in eight sporting codes. Among them are boxing, football, judo, swimming, netball, gymnastics and tennis.

Dixon said it is a privilege and an honour for him to be selected as part of the coaching set up at the games.

“I would like to gain experience of being part of an international structure and to improve on my skills from a management point of view,” said Dixon who believes the SA track and field team will do well at the competition.

“We will bring back the gold medals. We can expect tough competition in the middle distance running from the East African countries but we will give them a run for their money.

“Our sprinters have really upped their game and Nigeria should watch out for us. Our youth team will draw from what our seniors did at the Rio Olympics which took place earlier this year,” he said.

Dixon, who is head of athletics and high performance centre manger at DF Milan High School, in Bellville. His journey as a coach began in 2007. Two years later, he went on to complete his International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) international level two qualification.

Dixon said from there on his passion for developing athletes just got stronger.

“The hunger becomes more when you are setting goals for your athletes and yourself. If you have a vision for your athletes doing well in a certain period then they will grow as individuals.

“It is a patience game, working out plans and structures and telling them what is the short and long-term plan,” he said

“When I did athletics (hurdles) at school, it taught me about life lessons and the obstacles that one has to overcome.

“The best part is when an athlete achieves what he/she has been working towards. What is also exciting is that an athlete has to perform year after year.” he said.

Dixon trains 40 athletes with more than 50% of them having achieved their Western Cape colours. A few of Dixon’s athletes to watch out for are Jayson Weber, Ethan Nobel, Robyn Haupt and Tyler Linnen.

Jayson, 15, was crowed the triple national champion in the boys’ under-16 100m, 200m, and 400m at the ASA sub-youth championships, in Johannesberg, earlier this year. He also set a new personal best of 10.97s, 21.71s and 48.64s in the boys’ under-16 sub youth section 100m, 200m and 400m, respectively

Ethan, 18, came fourth in the 100m at the ASA junior champions, at the same venue. Last year he came third at the ASA youth championships, in Bloemfontein.

Haupt, 20, was crowned the 100m champion at the ASA under-23 championships, in Johannesburg, earlier this year.

Linnen, 20, was part of the Western Province under-23 and senior team this year.

Dixon said the reason behind the success of his athletes is because of the relationship he has with them.