Moleon ran like the wind

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter

BY CLEMENT DU PLESSIS

This is the final chapter of a two-part series about former star athlete and cricketer Eugene Moleon.

Read part one here Moleon towered over his opposition.

EUGENE Moleon competed in an era which included class athletes in Gavin Lenders (high jump), Safwaan Simons (sprints), the twins Rafiek and Rashied Dirk (sprints), Eddie van der Westhuizen (field events), Geraldine Pillay (sprints), Nina Hendricks (400m), Bronwyn Bock (high jump and sprints), to name a few, ‘they were all in the same WPSSSU team with me’.

The write-up points out Eugene’s Moleon’s personal best of 21,3 seconds in the 200m and 7,59m in the long jump as a boy’s under 18 athlete.

He also remembers the talent of middle-distance runner Edward Chivette of Aloe High School in Mitchell’s Plain. Chivette was the youngster ripping up the boys under 14 and 15 records in the 800m and 1500m.

SASSSA and SAAAB

Moleon also represented the South African Senior Schools Sports Association (SASSSA) at one of the last South African Amateur Athletic Board (SAAAB) Track and Field meetings in 1993, winning all four events he competed in (100m, 200m long jump, and 4x100m relay).

He has a personal best of 21,3 seconds in the 200m and 7,59m in the long jump set at the Junior championships in Germiston.

Not one for having a quick start, Moleon has a best of 10,6 seconds in the 100m.

Eugene Moleon was tipped to be a future star in athletics and cricket.

He also won all three individual events in the WPSSSU boys open section; the 100m (10.9 sec), the 200 (21,78 sec) and the long jump (7,38m) at the last Champion of Champions meeting on the slower grass surface of the Athlone stadium in 1994.

Club athletics

Moleon was introduced to club athletics by his coach Allan Pather.

Said Moleon: “Schools’ athletics was great and there were good competitors, most of whom didn’t compete at the club level. I found that at the clubs, it was a different environment, a different style of competition. I found out when I went to the SA junior champs. There were more heats, more qualification rounds that I wasn’t used to. I didn’t train for this. I only trained to run fast and to jump far, not to get through the several rounds for one event. Schools’ only had a sectional meet, semi-champs, and champ of champs meetings.”

Tottenham Hotspur-bound Quinton Fortune and Eugene Moleon of Grassdale High School in Athlone, Cape Town. Fortune played the majority of his football at Manchester United (76 appearances).

Perhaps, the point Moleon had made, ‘we were raw, and we just ran’.

Rigours of training 

Athletics require the rigours of training to endure more than just a couple of races at two or three school meetings.

Moleon was more than just an athlete.

He could bowl fast, leap high in volleyball and played football for Clarewood, a club affiliated to Cape and District Football Union in Wynberg.

Quinton Fortune

He is a very good friend of his school mate Quinton Fortune, the former Manchester United football player in the UK.

Fortune is a South African former professional footballer who played as both a midfielder and a defender. He moved to Europe at the age of 14 to play for English club Tottenham Hotspur, but work permit issues meant a move to Spain with Mallorca in 1995. Fortune signed for Manchester United for a fee of £1.5 million on 1 August 1999.

Moleon’s cricketing achievements, though, appear to stand out above football and volleyball.

Cricketing accolades

Eugene Moleon participated in cricket and athletics at a high level in the same season during summer.

Cricket writer John Freudenberg writes, “Just two years after first picking up a cricket ball in anger, promising pace bowler Eugene Moleon is about to embark on his third international venture. The 20-year-old Western Province player  . . .”

By then Moleon had toured India and the revered Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord’s as an under 19 cricketer.

He had a ‘late’ introduction to cricket because Garlandale High School did not offer cricket.

Nonetheless, his rise in cricket was rapid.

He bowled his way into the USASSSA MTN WP under 19 A team with fast bowler Mulligan George of Mondale High School during the Coca-Cola Cricket week in 1995.

Victoria Cricket Club

Well-known sportsman and national bowling coach Vincent Barnes was the coach of the WP under 19 team which travelled to East London.

Barnes, George, and Moleon were members of the Victoria Cricket Club. Another who joined Victoria was Ashwell Prince, the current Cobras cricket coach.

Eugene Moleon, centre, played for Western Province A at the Youth Cricket Week.

“Ashwell and I met in 1993 at the Dal Josaphat Stadium in Paarl where the SASSSA meeting was held. We made the 100m final and I will never forget his first words to me, he looked up and said, ‘moet ek nou teen jou hardloop?’ (must I now run against you?) We then ran into each other playing cricket, he represented Eastern Province academy and I was part of the Western Province Super Juice Academy. A few months after that we represented South Africa u19 on a tour to India. We have always kept in touch, and during various stints in the UK, we always managed to hook up again. We have remained good friends and he and his family have helped me a great deal during that time,” says Moleon.

Rubbed shoulders

Moleon also rubbed shoulders with Hassan Pangarker, Faiek Davids, Renier Munnik, Ryan Maron, Mulligan George, Dean Machelm and Lloyd Ferreira to name a few of the 1997/1998 Western Province ‘B’ team. Convenor of Selectors was Goolam Allie, President Percy Sonn and the CEO was Arthur Turner.

Eugene Moleon, who played cricket at a high level, with his teammates and officials Goolam Allie, Percy Sonn, Arthur Turner, and Paul Phillipson.

He was in the environment of Eric Simons, Clive Rice, Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener and Makhaya Ntini. He was selected to the SA Super Eight squad to tour Malaysia which included Pollock, Klusener, and Ntini.

Schools’ athletics

Moleon equipped himself with several coaching certificates in athletics and cricket after his sporting career. He coaches a UCT cricket team and hopes to get involved in athletics sometime soon.

 “I haven’t attended any local meets recently because I have been abroad in the UK. I have attended the UK athletics meetings in Birmingham and the Indoor Championships in Glasgow. It’s great having the opportunity to go to these events and watch top athletes perform. I am a coach in athletics as well and hope to get back into schools’ athletics in Cape Town and assist them in becoming better athletes. My belief is that there are a number of great athletes, raw in nature that have the potential to excel. They just need guidance and leadership.”

2 thoughts on “Moleon ran like the wind

  • October 15, 2019 at 8:29 pm
    Permalink

    Dear Publisher

    Clement, your articles are magical. They MUST be published in hard form. My family had close dealings with both Eugene Moleon and Quinton Fortune.

    I am so proud that I was mentioned in your articles and now my daughter, Nina shared the same platform.

    So, you were an athlete in their time. I was a coach then of the Kraaifontein Athletics Club and had indirect dealings with so many of you as a track official. Wonderful work, Clement.

    Reply
    • October 17, 2019 at 12:02 pm
      Permalink

      Dear John

      Thank you for your comments. One correction. I was an athlete between 1982-87. As a PT teacher, I was part of the Mondale High athletics machine in the A Section and Champ of Champs until about 1992-93 when the calamitous ‘unity’ talks were abounding. As a former Spartans and Hewat athlete, we started the Olympiads Amateur Athletic Club in Mitchell’s Plain – at the time the only club in Cape Town’s largest coloured township. There was a time . . . Best. Clement

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *