WITH athletic stars like Wilfred Daniels, Johannes Brandt, Sheridon Adonis, Adrian Baron, Charles Keeble, Rubin and Craig Steyn, Derrick Hendricks, Japhta Hendricks, Priscilla Windwaai, Jeannetta Abrahams, Elizabeth Meloyer, Jowaine Lategan, Emmanuel Springbok, Owen Machelm, Anita Witbooi and Melvin Hartogh, produced by the Stellenbosch Amateur Athletics Club over the years, it is easy to forget about those athletes which produced fine performances, but whose stars did not shine quite as bright or who lived in the shadow of the others, writes Allan Parrott.
Two athletes who came to mind were the two junior road athletes, Vincent Wingyou (centre in the main picture) and Pieter Jacobs, whose interesting duels during the late eighties were carried by the local newspaper Eikestadnuus – written by Jannie Ferreira and Wilfred Pietersen. Both Jacobs and Wingyou were pupils at Cloetesville High School, attending there from 1984. The school was a member of the Boland Senior Schools Sports Union.
Jacobs joined the club in August 1985 and he excelled almost immediately in road races and cross-country as an under 16 athlete.
Wingyou joined the club in March 1987, and success came a little harder and later to him. They were not track athletes and lacked the speed to really excel in the shorter cross-country races, but in the road races over 15km and 21.1km, they staked their claim.
Some experts would reckon that they were too young for those distances, but we are not all sprinters or middle distance athletes and the talent of some athletes predisposes them to the longer races.
Little to choose
There was very little to choose between Jacobs and Wingyou. Jacobs in full flight, with his beautiful loping running style, which reminded one of the East Africans, was definitely the more talented athlete.
On the other hand, Wingyou had an ungainly running style, but he was diligent, wily and had a heart as big as a house and BMT for Africa.
These attributes allowed him to pocket the big titles. He won the junior section of the 1988 Paarl Mountain Endurance race over 19.2km in a time of 69:47 as well as the SA 15km Road Championships in Johannesburg in 1988.
He also won the silver medal in the SA 21.1km on 16 July 1988 in Johannesburg. (The Paarl Mountain Race was the only road race which was run by athletes, on the same course, but on different days on both sides of the racial divide, but somewhere in the early eighties, it was decided that athletes from the Sacos-side were not allowed to start and finish at the Paarl Town Hall).
Jacobs would win most of the road races he would participate in during 1987 and 1988 including the 1987 Ashton 21.1km in 72:47 as well as the UWC 21.1km.
They both achieved WPAAU colours for cross-country and road relays and, of course, road races in 1987, 1988 and 1989.
A stray bullet, which went right through Wingyou’s abdomen one evening in 1989 did not manage to kill him, but unfortunately, it cut short a budding career as a long-distance runner.
Jacobs’ family moved from Stellenbosch to Eerste River in 1990 where he met a tragic and untimely death shortly after the move.
What a sad end to a feud between two fine exponents of road running!