THE fact that she is only 12 years old did not deter a Breidbach Primary School (BPS) girl from ending top of her event at the Eastern Cape provincial Indigenous Games at the weekend.
The event, hosted in Port Elizabeth, saw Dellarise Christian represent Buffalo City Metro (BCM) and compete for the first time against athletes from the other seven districts.
She pulled out all the stops to walk away as the best in the Drie Stokkies event after she jumped an amazing 9.88m in front of a good crowd at the Motherwell Stadium.
Her coach and Breidbach Hub coordinator, Desmond Coetzee, was on cloud nine with his athlete’s performance and never imagined she would emerge winner.
“I am over the moon with the performances of all BCM athletes at the games but Dellarise really stood out for me and her achievement was beyond my expectations as it was only her first attempt doing Drie Stokkies against the best in the province,” Coetzee said.
“She became the darling of the crowd during her performance and even her opponents, who included the defending champion, hugged her after her final jump,” he said.
Coetzee said prior to the event Christian had constantly asked him whom she would compete against, as she only saw senior participants when she arrived at the stadium.
“She thought she would participate against her age group and I had to motivate and keep her encouraged all the way, even during her event when she was the only one who competed bare feet,” Coetzee said.
When asked how she felt, the skinny Christian said she was initially nervous but motivated by her coach.
“My coach said that I must believe in my capabilities and that age is only a number, so I must enjoy and give it my best try, which I did,” Christian said.
“It was only my second competition after I won the competition which was hosted by BCM in Breidbach in June and I’m looking forward in much anticipation to the next level,” the excited youngster said.
The event started with 15 participants, which was reduced to four and then two, when Christian went up against the defending champion. The national development officer Isaac Barendse could also not believe what he had witnessed.
When the defending champion fell out, it was left to Christian who easily jumped the 9.88m without any hassles, with Barendse stopping the competition in an attempt to avoid injuries.
Barendse said: “I have seen enough and we have a winner, which we can say would be making us proud at nationals.
“She is not only young, energetic and confident but she is a child with a heart of gold and I extend a word of thanks to coach Coetzee for the piece of gold he brought to this year’s event.”
Her grandfather David Jackson was also ecstatic on receiving the news. “I kept on phoning Coetzee and late in the evening I received the wonderful news that Dellarise had made it, and I would like to say a big thank you to Coetzee for his passion to work with our children,” Jackson said.
“May the Lord give him the strength and the patience to continue with the good work.”
Her athletics coach at school Werner Fuller commended Christian on her achievement and said: “She is talented and easy to work with; I wish her all the best on her road to fame”.
BPS principal Ivan Harry echoed his educator’s sentiments and added: “She has yet again flown the flag for the school and we are indeed proud of her and of Coetzee and the department of sport with their programme to keep our children committed even during holidays; it is much appreciated”.
Meanwhile Coetzee was elected to serve on the executive of the EC Provincial Drie Stokkies Committee during meetings held after the event. He will represent BCM on the structure.