Coach: In 2002 I met a wonderful, quiet boy named Wayde...

2016-08-15 13:53
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PICS: Wayde Van Niekerk's primary school celebrates his victory

Staff and students at Belville Primary School in Cape Town have celebrated the Olympic victory of Wayde Van Niekerk, a former pupil, at a special assembly.

Cape Town - Wayde van Niekerk’s former primary school athletics coach said he could see the potential in the future record-breaking Olympian back then already.

Andre Scheffers has been teaching at Bellville Primary school for just over 15 years, having joined the staff in 2000.

In 2002, he met a young boy named Wayde van Niekerk, who had come to the school in Grade 4 from another school in Kraaifontein.

“This morning is definitely the highlight of my career here in Bellville Primary. Just having had a part in his career as an athlete,” he told News24 on Monday.

The 59-year-old said Wayde had shown signs of becoming a great in primary school already, and only feared that he would be hit by a serious injury.

He coached Wayde for three years from 2003-2005.

“Ja, it was written all over him,” he says emphatically of Wayde’s potential.

“I used to tell my family that I just hope Wayde stays injury free. That’s every athlete’s nightmare.

“And he wasn’t spared of that. At around 15, 16 he was plagued by hamstring injuries.

“But he overcame that, and you could see the potential was there. He was extremely fast.”

SA champ at 11-years-old

Bellville Primary School held a special screening for its pupils on Monday showing their hero breaking the Olympic record in the 400m, News24 reported.

Three of Wayde’s achievements still line the hall at Bellville Primary, with his name a regular fixture on the honours roll.

He won the SA u.11 100m championships in 2003, when he was in Grade 5, and was also named the school’s Sports Boy in 2004.

- WATCH: Reaction from kids at Wayde van Niekerk's former school

Scheffers said Wayde was multi-talented, having also excelled at rugby.

“He was in fact an all-rounder. He took part in rugby, and I’m sure if we had other sports he would have excelled in those at well.

“He was in the u.13A team, and he was awesome. He played centre and wing and he was so fast.”

‘Wonderful, quiet boy’

The former athletics coach also said running "blind" in lane eight may have worked in van Niekerk's favour.

"Because he was in lane eight, he was racing against himself. He had to go!" he exclaimed.

Scheffers said Wayde was a normal boy who was quiet in class, a hard worker and a pleasure to coach.

“I’m super, super, super proud, not only for being part of his earlier career, but he was also in my class in Grade 5.

“He was very quiet, he just kept busy with his own stuff. Sometimes you didn’t know that he was in your class. But he was a very hard worker.

“And look at him now,” he said beaming.

WATCH: Wayde's former coach on the boy Wayde

Read more on:    wayde van niekerk  |  cape town  |  olympics 2016

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