Just a hop, skip and a dash to victory

Marco Prins loves the freedom of running.

Marco Prins and Mìgnonne de Beer are the future of athletics in South Africa.

Mìgnonne de Beer and Marco Prins show off their medals.

Prins, a Fairland resident, is the South African U12 boys 1 200m champion, having won the 1 200m race at the SA Schools Athletics National Primary Schools Track and Field Championships in Potchefstroom at the end of March. He won in a time of 00:03:36.00.

Also at the championships, De Beer from Auckland Park broke the national record for the girls U11 long jump, with a leap of 4.80m. However, Western Cape’s Kiera-Lee Abrahams then broke De Beer’s record at the same event to take first place with a jump of 4.94m.

Prins and De Beer are both 11-year-old schoolchildren of Laerskool Jan Celliers in Parkview and said they learned the same lesson at the champs, which is never to give up.

“It was my moment of glory, overtaking two runners in the last dash. I have been running since I was seven. I love that you can just go on and on – there is freedom, hardly any rules,” said Prins.

He added that his role models were Kenyan runners, David Rudisha and Wilson Kiprotich and his dream was to win medals at the Olympics.

De Beer shares the same dream.

Referring to the long jump, she said,

“I love to fly through the air. If you don’t know how to leap, you don’t know how to fly.”

Mìgnonne de Beer dreams of winning medals in long jump at the Olympics.

De Beer said she also did sprints and hurdles, but long jump was her strongest weapon in athletics.

What is further surprising about the athletes is that athletics is only one part of their repertoires.

Prins has represented Gauteng in cross country and laser-run and represented his country in biathle.

De Beer is a level six artistic gymnast, having represented Gauteng before in championships.

Her chess skills are even more proficient. She regularly plays in the South African Junior Chess Championships and has represented South Africa in the World Youth Chess Championship, the Commonwealth Chess Championship and the African Youth Chess Championships.

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Nicholas Zaal
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