Talent is but a small part of the equation that separates mediocre athletes from the best. In the words of Muhammad Ali, “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” Today I’ll feature an 18 year old that doesn’t only have the will but plenty of skill and talent to accompany that.
He describes himself as an 18 year old, energetic kid with lots of confidence and a love for sports and music. Gerald has been participating in sports since primary school level and has been motivated by his parents, Felicity and Prince who noticed the talent he possessed, especially for high jump. He started at the age of 9 and competed in the Northern Zone (all schools in Cape Town). Personally he decided on high jump as his niche because of his role model Mutaz Barshim from Qatar. When asked what he aim to accomplish, he simply responded, “I’d like to be an Olympic medalist, study Business Management and become SA’s greatest hip hop artist.” To say that’s quite a lot to achieve might be an understatement but he realizes the amount of hard work, dedication and sacrifices it will take to realize just one of his dreams and he’s ready for it. He never plans without the Lord because without Him nothing is possible.
In the short span of his career he has been faced with adversity in the form of his achilles tendon being torn and he couldn’t even walk properly. As we’ve all realized at some stage in our lives there is no guarantees.Life happens, whether you’re present or not and it goes on without you. Gerald realized that if he doesn’t put heart and soul into his recovery it might be the end for him but he persevered. After resting for 2 months he wasn’t at his peak but back to practising again because “I’m a man and I will face my problems like a man, head on.” Some of the highlights of his career includes wearing his first Western Province tracksuit when he made the team at the age of 11 and his SA colours at the age of 13. Another highlight was when he jumped his personal best at a height of 2.05m at the Western Cape championships and won first place. He’s leaving today for Bloemfontein to compete in the SA Championships. (Update: He’s currently ranked 3rd in SA)
His biggest inspiration is disabled athletes doing high jump as that proves that everything is possible and that he should appreciate his God-given talent. He loves listening to J. Cole while training Monday-Friday, 17hoo-20h00 and has a basic diet that consist of lots of carbs and protein. Balance is important in his life as he’s still attending school so he ensures that he makes ample time for both studies and training. His other interests includes music (he has released a few tracks), computers and selling cars with his dad. When asked what he think should improve with sports in our country he responded, “Gender bias should fall, female athletes work just as hard as male athletes and deserve to earn as much as them.”
Best advice he’s ever received was from his dad when he told him that, “Wealth is in the mind not the body.” When asked what advice he would give young people who, like him would love to pursue their passion and love for sports, he simply said, “When people make you feel small show them how you can reach for the stars.”
Some facts about this young man’s career:
2007: At the age of 9 he started competing in the Northern Zone (all schools in Cape Town)
2009/10: At the age of of 11 he qualified for the Western Province Team
2011/12: Age 13 he got his SA colours for high jump
2012: Age 14 he competed in East London and earned 06th place, he currently holds 04th position in SA
Last year Gerald qualified for the Junior Olympics but due to lack of support or sponsor could not compete. It’s sad that our young people work so hard to be successful but when they need our support, no one is there. These are the people that want to fly the South African flag high but due to circumstances beyond their control, they can’t.