St Cyps speedster shines at zonal champs

St Cyprians' Litha Klaas in action in Green Point last month.

With the sectional and zonal athletics meets done and dusted, it is all systems go for the Western Province high schools’ junior championships, that started yesterday and ends on Saturday at Vygieskraal Stadium, in Athlone.

This will see all the top athletes from the Northern, Southern, Table Bay and False Bay zones do battle for a spot in the Western Province team.

Among the top contenders eyeing a spot in the province side is St Cyprian’s Schools’ Litha “Zinam” Klaas, 16, who dominated the track and field events, winning the double in the girls’ under-17 100m and 200m sprint events, at the Table Bay zone championships, at Vygieskraal Stadium, at the weekend.

Litha, a Grade 12 pupil, will look to emulate her performances, at this week’s WP champ.

“There are a few things I need to improve on ahead of WP champs such as my times and my running technique. My aim is to continue where I left off and win all my races. The competition was not really strong but should be stronger at the Western Province championships,” she said

The youngster got her track and field season off to the perfect start, finishing first in the girls’ under-17 100m and 200m sprints events, at the Western Province high schools’ Table Bay Zone Section A athletics meet, at the Green Point track, last month.

Last month, Litha came first in the girls’ under 18 400m sprint, at the WP League 1 meet, at the Parow Athletics track.

She also won the 200m sprint, at the Puma School of speed, at the Green Point athletics track, in January.

The competition offers promising sprinters the opportunity to land a professional sports contract and access to high-level coaching.

The School of Speed is headed by Jamaican and eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt, who has appointed SA 100m champion Henricho Bruintjies as his vice principal in South Africa.

The first School of Speed series took place in Pretoria, in December and ended in Paarl on Tuesday. This was after it was in Roodepoort and Durban, last month.

Also, she came first in the girls’ under-18 200m sprint at the Western Province junior meet, at the Parow Athletics track, in January.

Last year, the youngster had a memorable season when she came first in the girls’ under-15 100m,200m and 400m sprints at inter-schools and zonal championships.

She went on to win gold in the girls’ under-15 400m sprints but finished second and third in the 100m and 200m at the Western Province championships. However, she qualified for the Western Cape championships where she came third, fourth and fifth in the girls’ under-15 100m, 200m and 400m sprint events.

Litha said the plan this year is to go one step further and go all the way to nationals, in Durban. However, she believes the plan is to take it one competition at a time and to not get ahead of herself.

The youngster admires American sprinter and six-time Olympic champion Allyson Felix who came second in the 400m sprints at the Rio Olympics, in Brazil, last year.

“I look up to her humble manner. We also have something in common which is that we both run the 200m and 400m sprints,” she said.

Director of sport at St Cyprian’s Elsabe Odendal said she was proud of the way her athletes performed.

“We have had outstanding results with most of our girls getting placing in the track events for which they were entered. We had 13 first placings, one second place and four third placings at the inter-schools,” she said.