11-year-old in the running

2016-09-27 06:00
 Coaches Anne Muller and Meagan Cloete with 11-year-old Zondrea Booysen from Eastridge. Booysen will run cross country for the Western Cape in October. PHOTOS: Samantha Lee

Coaches Anne Muller and Meagan Cloete with 11-year-old Zondrea Booysen from Eastridge. Booysen will run cross country for the Western Cape in October. PHOTOS: Samantha Lee

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An 11-year-old athlete is set to take to the track representing the Western Cape next month.

Zondrea Booysen, a pupil at Imperial Primary School will soon leave to compete as part of the Western Cape Cross Country team.

Zondrea has shown true promise as an athlete for many years but competed for the first time this year.

Her mother, Mearleen, says she always kept her away from the sports day because she wanted to ensure her safety, and because she could not attend, neither could Zondrea.

But this year, after much persuasion, Mearleen allowed Zondrea to compete for the school at the athletics and this was followed by her joining 14 other hopefuls as part of the school team at the Western Province trials.

Of the 15 pupils, Zondrea was the only one to be selected and is the first at the school to reach this level in the sport.

After being selected, Zondrea then took part in the trials for the Western Cape team that will compete in Mpumalanga on Saturday 1 October.

Mearleen says she is very proud of Zondrea and wants her to do well in the sport, but also wants to be there to ensure her safety.

Her coaches, Meagan Cloete, Anne Muller and Chantal Petersen, are exceptionally proud of Zondrea. “She is the only one who would train both days and is really committed,” says Petersen.

This, coupled with her talent, urged the coaches to persuade Mearleen to allow her to compete.

They also went the extra mile to ensure her school work was kept up to date to ensure her schooling did not suffer as a result of training.

Ward councillor Solomon Philander met with Zondrea and her mother to wish them well and do an official handover of R1500 from the mayor’s office to assist Zondrea with travelling costs to get her to the competition.

However, further fundraising is required to ensure Zondrea, her mother and Cloete get to Mpumalanga.

The school has also assisted in raising funds and have bought some of the things she required for the tournament.

It is still not enough to cover all the costs.

“We have listed only necessities to keep costs low,” says Cloete.

Zondrea says she is very excited and nervous, but the lack of funds threatens her chances of competing. Mearlene says if they are not able to raise the money required for the boarding and lodging and travelling they will not be leaving to compete.

The pair and the school are now urgently seeking sponsorship and donations ahead of their departure on Thursday 29 August.

V Anyone who would like to donate to their cause, or for more information on their needs, call the school on 021 376 1490 or Mearleen on 078 373 9924.

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