Going for gold

2015-05-05 06:00

Many 13-year-old girls dream about one day meeting their own prince charming and living happily ever after.

But for Leah Jones, the fairytale ending would be a place on the podium at the 2020 Olympic Games.

She knows, however, it is a dream that will not be realised easily and therefore the Colorado Park resident and pupil at Pinelands Primary School is already putting in the hard yards.

Leah’s mother, Lee-Anne Riffel, is part of her daughter’s amazing support structure and always reminds her daughter to “do your best, it’s not about winning and to remember you are only racing against yourself”.

Leah took that advice to heart and was awarded her Western Province colours in athletics on Saturday 7 March. This paved the way for her to compete in the national primary school championships held in Germiston last weekend.

There she represented the province in the 100m and 200m sprints, as well as the 4x100m relay event.

In preparation for the competition, Leah trained every day for an hour at Vygieskraal Stadium in Athlone in an effort to get her body and mind in shape.

With the support and guidance of Angelo Maistray and Charlene Williams, two teachers at her school, she was ready to take on the country.

Williams says she is extremely proud of Leah and has seen that she has a lot of potential. “I have known her for a very long time and she is a very determined young girl who has set her mind on achieving the best results in whatever she does,” she says.

Leah is determined to be both successful in her athletics as well as academically and makes time every day to do her homework.

“My grandmother lives in Manenberg and I usually do my homework at her house. It is important for me to put in as much effort in my school work as I do in my sport,” she says.

She also plays netball, cricket and takes part in swimming.

Leah has her Western Province colours in cricket as well.

People’s Post spoke to her before she left for Germiston last week and despite her pre-competition excitement, Leah unfortunately fell during the 200m sprint event and finished fifth overall.

She did, however, manage to return home with a silver medal when her team finished second in the 4x100m relay event.

With a passion second to none, Leah will not let her disappointments get the better of her and says: “My dream is to compete in the Junior Athletics Championships once I have my SA colours in athletics and to continue my sporting career when I complete school.”

She concludes: “I want to be remembered for never giving up and always reaching for my goals.”

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