Photo by: Keagan Mitchell
The newest member of the Bellville Athletics Club’s coaching team, 30-year-old Rachelle la Grange, a resident of Brackenfell, is looking forward to meet all Javelin Throwers in the Province who are looking for an enthusiastic Coach!
As a former pupil of DF Malan High School in Bellville, Rachelle was involved in track and field since the turn of the century as a successful, competitive Javelin Throw athlete. More recently Rachelle is expressing her love for the sport and her specialist event, as a Coach.
In 2005 Rachelle who was born in Rustenburg in the North-West Province won the Western Cape Schools title in the girls u.17 Javelin Throw event. Based on this excellent performance, she was selected for the Western Cape High Schools Team. Rachelle’s best distance at the National Championships in Germiston, Gauteng placed her in the 9th place overall.
“I have so many fantastic memories as a competitive athlete, but I will always treasure the proud faces of my parents. Every competition was a highlight because I was always competitive, not just against other athletes, but against myself,” said Rachelle. Training with top Javelin Throwers of the time like Hardes Pienaar, Robert Oosthuizen and Tommy Du Toit was very inspirational for the young, soft spoken athlete.
However the biggest inspiration of the former De Tyger Primary School (Parow) athlete was and still is Czech Republic’s Jan Zelezny who holds the world record with a throw of 98.48m in the men’s javelin event.
“He had a great talent and technique which I would like to instil in my athletes. He will always be my number one,” said Rachelle who ended her competitive career after high school. However, that was not the end of Rachelle’s involvement with Javelin Throw because a few years later she started coaching at Brackenfell High School.
Her fiancé, Shaun Feldtmann, was teaching first aid at the school and the conversation with one of the pupils led to Javelin Throw. Shaun then mentioned that Rachelle was an ex Javelin Throw athlete and that she might be able to assist the pupil and like they say: the rest is history.
“I started helping her with training and as luck would have it, head of athletics at Brackenfell High School and former member of the Coaching team of the Bellville Athletics Club, Louis Stockigt asked me if I would be interested to coach the Javelin Throw athletes at the school. I saw it as a great opportunity as my father, Vic La Grange, is a Javelin Throw Coach and I would like to continue his legacy,” said Rachelle.
She now coaches more than 25 Javelin Throw athletes at the school and has recently started coaching discuss as well.
After only a few years of coaching, 2018 turned out to be an excellent year when one of her school athletes was selected for the Western Cape High Schools team, to compete at the SA High Schools Championships in Potchefstroom. Elandri Weyer (G.u.19) won the bronze medal at the National Championships and Charl Pretorius(B.u.19) was awarded his High School Provincial Colours for the first time.
“The joy of a Coach when an athlete achieves his or her goal is very rewarding. I always tell the athletes: what you put in, is what you can expect to get out,” said Rachelle. She believes if an athlete shows commitment, is prepared to go the extra mile and uses his/her initiative, the athlete will most likely achieve their goals.
“Javelin throw is not just about throwing. It is also about preparing the body to endure explosive throws every time. This specific training requires hard work and dedication. I also believe it is important to build personal relationships with my athletes. It takes time to learn about the specific needs of each individual athlete. I use video technology to analyse each athlete and identify the corrective actions required,” She said
Athletes of all ages who are interested in being coached by Rachelle in Javelin Throw, are invited to contact her via email firstname.lastname@example.org or cell phone (072 405 5934).
Story by: Keagan Mitchell