Free State pupil collapses and dies during cross-country race

A Free State school pupil died on Friday after collapsing while competing in a cross-country athletics event.
A Free State school pupil died on Friday after collapsing while competing in a cross-country athletics event.
Image: Pixabay

A Free State school pupil died on Friday after collapsing while competing in a cross-country athletics event.

Melinda Odendaal, described by the Free State department of education as an exceptionally talented pupil, was a grade 7 learner at the Eunice Primary School in Bloemfontein.

“She fainted during the race and all efforts by paramedics were in vain. Her parents were also present during her passing on the field,” the provincial education department said in a statement expressing its sadness at her death.

“She was an exceptionally talented young lady. She was a top academic learner who also represented the school in our first netball, hockey, athletics and cross country teams. Her beauty shone brightly both inside and out. She epitomised our values of kindness, resilience and courage. It is such a very big tragedy for our school,” the school said in a statement.


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