Long gone are the days when fourth place seemed to be reserved for Azalea, when the words ‘Azalea’ and ‘failure’ seemed to be synonymous with each other, and not merely rhyming words! No longer is the wooden spoon red in colour! In the more recent past, Azalea has been far more consistent in its challenge for the top spot, with a few close second and third places
In 2019, however, Azalea achieved a convincing victory, leading from the moment the first points were announced early on the first day, and never being overtaken. It is often said that retaining a title is more difficult than claiming it in the first place, so the question was whether Azalea could hold onto the title of inter-house champions in 2020, SP’s 70th year of existence, and the 60th year of inter-house.
The first day of an inter-house is always eagerly anticipated, as the under-14s, the unknown quantities, get their chance to show what they can do in the field events and hurdles, and to acquire points for their houses. The 3000m and 5000m events are also held on Day 1. By the end of the first day, Azalea had established a lead, albeit a slender one of 8,5 points, ahead of surprise packages Protea. Outstanding under-14 athletes on Day 1 were Saeed Mohammed (first in the javelin and second in the discus events), Connor Hoffman (second in shot put and fifth in discus), Josh van Kesteren (second in the high jump). Saligh Sasman (second in the long jump), Jordan Magazi (first in the high jump), Tatum Stevens (second in the long jump) and Quanita Matthews (second in the 90m hurdles).
On the second day, with the emphasis on the sprints and middle distance races, more new athletes had a chance to impress, and they did not disappoint. Liam Thebus shone, winning the 800m and 1500m races, after coming fourth in the long jump the day before, and Saligh Sasman finished second in those races. Zachary Claasen finished second in the 200m.
Among the other age groups, top performers were Leo Forbes, Tau-Daniel De Villiers and Sihle Yawa (boys u 15); Imraan Williams, Romulus Mushagalusha and Lee-Roy van der Vent (boys u17) and Abduraghmaan Karriem (u17 but participating in the u19 age group); Brooklyn Conradie (girls u15); Kirsten Links and Amy-Jade Adams (girls u17); and Tyler Knipe (girls u 19).
Azalea’s boys amassed the most points in the u14, u15 and u17 age groups, and came second to Mimosa in the u19 age group, and the girls came second to Protea in the u15 and u17 age groups.
Throughout the second day, an extremely hot red dusty day, Azalea were never overtaken on the scoreboard, and the final result underscored their dominance, as they totalled 541 points, comfortably beating Protea by 62.5 points.
As the sound of the war cry rang out victoriously, one could sense the previous house masters, Mr Ravens, Mr Murphy and Mr Ebrahim, smiling down upon the scene, joining in the celebrations of 70 years of SP.
[As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the inter-house was not held in 2021. The grade 8s have been placed into their houses but we will have to wait until 2022 (hopefully!) to see what they and the next group are made of. With all the unknowns regarding the abilities of the new students, as well as two sets of matrics leaving, as well as the ongoing uncertainty regarding and effects of the pandemic, it is anybody’s guess as to who the next champions will be.]
B Saunders (House master)