Tracking the City of Choice’s young talent

2010-08-09 00:00

A MAN with a no-nonsense approach when it comes to getting results, Christopher White (26) is no newcomer to taking charge.

As a young boy, he aced his way through school. As a gym personal trainer, he drilled his clients to perfection. His four years spent at university as a biogenetics student were fully complemented by his participation in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He competed in the United States, specialising in the 4x100-metre relay and decathlon, which is an athletic event consisting of 10 track- and-field disciplines.

It comes as no surprise then that today, White is a track-and-field sports coach. He and a few others in the city have founded an athletics club with track and field as the main thrust. The Maritzburg Athletics Club is aimed at providing coaching to any athletes who want to compete seriously.

The club’s coaches are currently working with KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, the local and district municipalities, as well as the Department of Sport and Recreation at provincial level, to get an athletics stadium with an all- weather track built in the city. White believes this track will not only serve the athletics community but it will also help other sporting codes with their training and fitness.

“We are trying to reintroduce the sport in Pietermaritzburg, to both students and adults. Our long-term goals include qualifying athletes to qualify for national teams, but we will also be assisting those who are looking for a great way to have fun, make new friends and keep in great shape,” said White.

“I have found that athletes do better when they are part of a team. That is why we are reaching out to all the athletics coaches and those wanting to learn to connect with us,” he added.

An American, White came to South Africa three years ago. “I came to work with a nonprofit organisation that is now working in community development in KwaZulu-Natal.”

White, who admits he has always had a passion for athletics, said he first got into coaching while at university. “Our coach would have us coach younger athletics. It was his way of helping us gain a better understanding of our events.”

More recently, White has been working with a few of the local schools, as well as individuals in the local community, who have an interest in track- and-field athletics.

“I have had a very positive experience. Athletes are starting to realise that proper athletics training helps their performance in all other sporting codes and also helps to prevent major muscle and joint injuries.”

While all athletes have their own set of goals, White has been assisting them to reach those goals, while also assisting in creating the opportunities.

By exposing children to the sport at a young age, he believes this will help them create a long-lasting appreciation for the sport and allow them to embrace the lifelong benefits it provides.

Currently, White and his protégés are training at various sporting grounds around the city. They already have had the opportunity to compete in a number of competitions, most of which are held in Durban since it is the only city in the province with all-weather (tartan track) facilities.

“The location and proposed plan for a state-of-the-art athletics stadium in the city has been approved and we are waiting for the funding which will allow us to start the construction of the facility. Being a new club in the city, Maritzburg Athletics is in need of sponsorship and we would like to encourage individuals and businesses with an interest in the sport of athletics to contact us.”

White believes the move will also assist in the growth of the development and training of coaches and technical officials, therefore producing a better class of athlete in all sporting codes, thus bringing the City of Choice on par with the rest of the country.

“With this much-needed addition to the city, we will be able to host athletic meetings in the city, bringing in the big names within the sport, not only to the province but to the City of Choice,” he said.

Aspirant athletes, coaches or officials wishing to get involved should contact White at at 033 345 3653 or on his cellphone at 082 477 5440. You can also mail


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