South African Hero

The Olympics fascinates and thrills me in so many ways. You can be world number one in your sport, and have won World Championships, but so many sporting competitors feel empty until they have an Olympic medal. Then of course the pride experienced when they put on their country's colours! And those few minutes, and in some cases seconds, a sport person's life can change forever. Their names are etched in the history books and they live forever!

Each country comes to the Games to compete, share in the spirit of the Olympics and of course to win medals. South Africa’s medal target is 12 medals for London 2012. There are never guarantees at a Games. They have a way of turning everything upside down – favourites freeze – the All Blacks ūüėČ – injuries, or the circumstances puts a competitor in a league they have never performed at. It is a remarkable fortnight of shocks and surprizes.

On of the South Africans who achieved the status of not only being an Olympian, but also being a medalist, was Hezekiél Sello Sepeng.

He was born in 1974 in Potchefstroom, and went to the High School for Boys, Potchefstroom, where he shone on the athletics track. The school and the parents were so proud of him, they did all they could to get him noticed – fundraising for him to compete. Then in 1996 at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Hezekiel came second in the 800 metres final.

How proud we are of him and his success! He went to my ‘brother school’ and he is an Olympic silver medalist!

So, can you imagine my excitement when Team SA’s Logistics Manager asked me to drive him to St Mary’s Twickenham (the SA athletics training camp). Isaac needed to deliver kit for the Opening Ceremony.

Hezekiel is the Athletics Manager of the Olympic athletics squad.

As we arrived he almost bounded out of the gym, and came straight over to introduce himself. I immediately told him it was an honour and that I was an Old Girl of Potch Girls High.

“I was at Potch Boys!” he exclaimed.

“I know, and that is why I needed to shake your hand! We are so proud of you at Girls High!” He beamed!

How lovely! I drove back to the Olympic Village with ‘happy smiles and memories’ of my time at Girls High and again my pride in being an Old Girl of a community of people (including Boys High) who have achieved such great things!

Dawn Denton©

3 Comments on “South African Hero”

  1. It just goeds to show that all those matches we had to shout for ‘College’ eventually paid off.

  2. perry cronje (cadiz) says:

    Hi Dawn

    Hezekiel was in my brother’s (and my) year at Potch Boys. You had left Girls High by then but as I did a lot of running for girls high, I used to train occasionally with him at Potch Boys.
    I remember clearly when Hezekiel first competed at Afrikaans Inter High. It was pre- 1993 so it was a bit tense, and Potch Boys and Girls used to get thumped by the Afrikaans schools in the Western Transvaal. (sure you remember that!). Anyway, he ran the 800m, and he was thrashing all of
    his rivals, and when he came into the last 100 metres, the entire stadium (Mcarthur) stood up and cheered him on. It was a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. It made a HUGE impression on me at the time. So I have watched him over the years, and how exciting that he is still involved

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