A new ‘Caster’ rises from Kew


A prospective new ‘Caster Semenya’ is rising in the baking oven of the Liberty Community College in Kew.

Miriam Phiri (14) is a Grade 8 learner at the college who is making waves in the athletic world of the Johannesburg East District of Education’s Alex Cluster of Schools athletic competition. She has also gone all the way to win the district games, including the provincial ones though she did not do so well at that level.

Read: Success for Liberty Community College matrics

Her school teacher and coach, Nkululeko Ndlovu, is so proud of his girl that he has taunted her as the new ‘Caster Semenya’ in the baking oven of the school.

Miriam runs in the 3 000m, which is eight laps, and when the Alex Schools Cluster competition was held at KwaBhekilanga Sports Ground in Alex in February, she led the race from start to finish and won the gold medal.

Read: Liberty College girl shines in Olympiad

At the district games held at the Dobsonville Stadium, Miriam again won gold when she outran all other competitors from various schools that form the Johannesburg District of Education in the Gauteng Education Department and then qualified to represent the district in the provincial games in Pretoria in March.

“Although she did not come out tops in the provincial competition, I am hopeful with time, practice and more nurturing, she will overcome and has potential to conquer there as well. Our biggest challenge is facilities, and with those, I am sure we would be telling a different story.

Liberty Community College school teacher, Xolani Ndlovu; talented athlete, Miriam Phiri; and her coach and school teacher, Nkululeko Ndlovu. Photo: Sipho Siso

“She managed to conquer her peers from the same level schools in two different events but was overshadowed when other pupils from the more affluent schools in the province came around,” Ndlovu said, adding that they will keep fighting and nurturing her for the future irrespective of the limitations in resources and facilities.

Read: Liberty – a school to emulate

Miriam will not make the cut for the national finals of the competitions which are to be held later in September in Pochefstroom as she was eclipsed in the provincial competitions in Pretoria.

“I am so proud of Miriam who I believe is extremely talented and if well nurtured, she has the ability to develop into a future Caster Semenya. We call her our own golden girl in the same breath as Semenya,” Ndlovu said.

Ndlovu and her golden girl practise at the Bez Valley Park and Sports Ground and sometimes those practices are curtailed by the lack of transport as well to take her there as the school bus is over-stretched with other errands to run for the entire school.

Read: Success for Liberty Community College matrics

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