Wayde’s old primary school celebrates his golden victory

2016-08-15 11:57

Cape Town - Pupils at Bellville Primary School in Cape Town were treated to a special screening of former pupil - and now record-breaking Olympian - Wayde van Niekerk’s historic gold medal victory in the 400m final on Monday.

All 608 pupils packed into the Bellville school’s hall on Monday to watch their hero break the 400m world record in 43.03 seconds in Rio.

School principal Danie Bester said he had set up the screening for the children as a treat, and in the hopes that it would inspire them to become the next Wayde van Niekerk.

The excitement was written on the kids’ faces as Bester welcomed them into the hall.

Monique van der Merwe, a Grade 4 teacher at the school, said the atmosphere was immediately noticeable as the pupils started arriving on Monday morning.

"The children were so excited and happy," she told News24. 

"I think one of the reasons is because Wayde comes from the same background and the same school. They think it’s possible that they can also achieve something like this.

"We’ve been watching Wayde for a while now, so this is a nice treat for them."

A laurel with Wayde’s name was placed on the stage next to the screen, while cut-outs of articles from local newspapers and magazines adorned the walls above it.

After the children quieted down, and the principal was ready, Bester hit play and it was all nerves, excitement and screams from then on.

'I think it’s a wonderful day for our school'

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.

Bester told News24 afterwards that he hoped screening Wayde’s victory would motivate the pupils to greater things.

"I think it’s a wonderful day for our school, it’s a big achievement," he said with a smile.

"The motto at our school is 'Where Children Become Winners', and we just hoped that it would inspire them to become winners as well."

Bester said Wayde’s achievement had also reminded the teaching staff that they were working with potential Olympians every day.

"I think the important lesson for us is to recognise each child in this school," he said.

"We are working with a potential Olympic champion or a future president.

"It’s there for them to become whatever they want to be."

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