Running is in the DNA of Miriam Phiri who attends Liberty Community College in Kew.
Both her parents were athletic enthusiasts back in their school days but they never got the opportunity to pursue the sport as a professional career.
Her mom Olivia Nyathi and her dad Bernard Phiri, were both accomplished runners for their schools while her brother, Sylvester Nyathi, in Grade 11 at Northview High School, is a long distance runner and a high jump fanatic who’s one of the most highly decorated athletes in the school.
Miriam has astounded many of peers and teachers with her phenomenal running talent and more recently with her exploits in the Alex Cluster of Schools Johannesburg East District competition where she came out tops in the 3 000m. She led the race from start to finish and won herself and her school a gold medal.
She also won the same event at the Johannesburg Inter Districts Schools Athletics Meeting in Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.
Coming from a disadvantaged school with no athletics facilities and meagre resources, she was only beaten at the Provincial Schools Athletics Meeting in Pretoria by her counterparts who come from the more affluent schools in the provinces.
She was therefore not able to represent her school, district and province in the national finals in Potchefstroom.
But her spirit is not dampened by this. “With much more hard work and training, I am confident I can be up there with my more affluent compatriots,” she said.
In Grade 8, Miriam started running at HA Jack Primary School in Highlands North. She has been touted as the next Caster Semenya by her teacher and coach, Nkululeko Ndlovu.
“When I look at her on the track, I just see a Semenya in the making,” he said.
“I am sure with enough resources accompanied by a good nurturing, this little golden girl could go a long way with her athletics career.”
Besides a career in athletics, Miriam, who’s also a top academic performer at her school. She plans to pursue a medical career when she completes her matric in four years time.
“With the will of the Almighty, I hope to juggle my academic studies with a professional career as an athlete,” she said.
Details: Liberty Community College 011 440 1137/82.