Tribute to Vincent Wingyou


I am extremely saddened by the news that a third member of the squad of athletes I have coached in the 1980s has passed away.

Vincent Charles Wingyou, the 1988 SA Junior Champion in the 15km and 1988 Junior Champion in the 1988 Paarl Mountain Endurance Race, passed away, after a short sickbed in Stellenbosch on 16 March 2020.

Wingyou, who was born on 2 June 1969, joined the Stellenbosch Amateur Athletics Club in March 1987.

From left: Elvin Smith, Allan Parrott and Vincent Wingyou.
In front: Deon Davids.

After his running career was cut short by an unfortunate incident in 1989, we would regularly bump into each other. Even after my move to KwaZulu-Natal, on my visits to Stellenbosch, we would make sure to meet up. During our conversations, it always surfaced that his biggest gripe was with hugely talented athletes from the community who squandered their gifts.

Riveting duels

They say that a coach always learns something from his charges – from Vincent, I have learned that in running (and in life) a strong will, dedication and diligence can and will outlast talent, especially on the big stage.

In 1987 and 1988 Wingyou had a string of riveting duels with his clubmate Pieter Jacobs (also from Stellenbosch Athletics Club).

Jacobs passed away in 1990 and if it is true that we will meet again in the afterlife, then the beautiful, loping running style of Jacobs will be tested by the wile, grit and dedication of Wingyou – and the circle would be unbroken.

The third athlete who passed away in 2018 was Deon Davids, a talented runner with a skrik-vir-niks attitude who was a regular member of the WPAAU and Boland Senior Schools teams in the late 80s and early 90s.

Vincent Charles Wingyou will be laid to rest on Saturday, 28 March 2020. The final funeral arrangements will be made known during the coming week.

Below is a photograph of the junior men’s and men’s section of the Western Province team to Port Elizabeth in 1988 which included Vincent Wingyou:

Standing: Danny Brown (Elsie’s), Reginald Lizwe (Gugs), Russel Joubert (Ravensmead), Joseph Gysman (Trafalgar), David Snyders (Trafalgar), David Scheepers (Elsie’s River), Richard Lemmon (Trafalgar).

Crouching: Sammy Klaasen (Trafalgar), Vincent Wingyou (Stellenbosch), Stephen Mackay (Trafalgar), Mafa Maseti (Gugulethu), Pieter Jacobs (Stellenbosch, Desmond Pietersen (Elsie’s River)Sitting; Allan Parrott (Manager)

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