Hudson pair off to Argentina
Hudson Park High school pupils, Rhys Poovan, 18, and Zimkhitha Weston, 16, were recently selected for the Sascoc Youth Olympic squad for modern pentathlon and hockey fives, respectively.
The two will compete at the Summer Youth Olympics from October 6-18 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Poovan is the first male athlete from Hudson to be chosen for the squad for modern pentathlon and bagged the only male spot in Africa, after coming first at Africa champs, the Youth Olympic Qualifier.
At 16, Weston is the youngest member of the hockey team and is the only East Londoner to have been picked.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” said Poovan, who has put in almost 40 hours of training per week, since he started Modern Pentathlon in 2015.
“I realised I had potential when I came first at SA Champs in 2016 and then represented South Africa in Ireland. Since then I’ve just kept working hard.”
Combining fencing, swimming, running and shooting, Modern pentathlon requires constant training in each discipline and a high level of fitness and stamina.
“We do all five on the same day, usually starting out with a gala and then going straight into a fencing match. Running and shooting is combined so we run 800m and then have to shoot at a target,” said Poovan.
Weston, who plays school, club and provincial hockey said she didn’t expect to make a side and her selection came as a shock. “I’m only 16, I’m the youngest in the team and I’m a little nervous,” said Weston.
“It’s going to be my first time overseas so I’m really excited too. I’m looking forward to working with a different coach and hope to take what I will learn back to my Hudson hockey team.”
Poovan and Weston praised their coaches and parents for all the mentorship and support they’ve received.
“My dad is my running, shooting and fencing coach and I just want to thank him and all my coaches for all that they have done for me,” said Poovan, who hopes to continue his career in modern pentathlon, and will be preparing for the Olympic qualifier as soon as he returns from Argentina.
Weston said: “My parents and coaches have been a great support system. I’m really grateful for both my primary and high school coaches for getting me to where I am.”
Hudson High headmaster, Dennis Vorster, said that he was proud of his pupils.
“They’ve both worked extremely hard to get to where they are and it hasn’t been easy. We are all extremely happy to have these students represent our school and our country.”