ZUKO QUSHEKA AND CARLI-ANN FURNO
UP is renowned for producing some of the most talented athletes in the country. The High Performance Centre (HPC) has produced the likes of Wenda Nel, Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies, who have represented the university on an international level and gone on to join an elite group of world ranked track athletes. To uphold this kind of success, UP invests in grassroots through the young, up-and-coming athletes of the TuksSport High School. This high school nurtures, molds and grooms the athletic future of South Africa.
Catering for those talented in sports, TuksSports High School offers Grade 8-12 learner athletes the unique opportunity to mix their sporting talents with academic success in an environment of excellence created by the HPC and UP. This institution sets itself apart through the quality education that is provided for both South African and international athletes.
The LC de Villiers Sport campus is home to the sporting and accommodation facilities where learners reside and train, while the school is located a few kilometers away on the Groenkloof campus. After morning sessions at the HPC, learners are taken to school by bus and brought back to train later in the afternoon.
Class sizes vary depending on the learners, but do not exceed a 1:27 teacher-learner ratio. Lunch is prepared for the learners per the guidelines of a sport nutritionist and is served in the school canteen.
TuksSport High School has produced some phenomenal youth athletes like Gift Leotlela, a sprinter who recently broke the South African 100 m record for his age group in a time of 10.20 seconds, becoming the second fastest sprinter in history at youth level. In an interview with Perdeby, he spoke about the benefits of going to TuksSport High School and said, “Coming here has given me so many more opportunities [that have] changed me into a better athlete.”
Other TuksSport High School leaners include Gizelde Strauss, who won the 2015 ITU Duathlon World Championship for the junior women’s race in Adelaide, and Dylan Naidoo, who not only matriculated with four distinctions but began the year as the winner of the prestigious Nomads Dr Bam golf tournament.
These “mini-Tukkies” might not be varsity students yet, but through their accomplishments and dedication, they highlight the possibilities of success that TuksSport hopes to see unfold in the future.