College sport: Talented Somali wins cross-country
New Zealand Herald

By Terry Maddaford

Before he came to New Zealand, Shafat Salad had never run a step competitively. Born in Somalia, he immigrated in 2001 after living for two years in Ethiopia.

It was not until he ran in a cross-country race at Hamilton's Fairfield College in late 2001 that he became interested. The following year he won the New Zealand secondary schools road race. His career took off.

On Saturday he overcame difficult conditions at Wanganui Collegiate to win the senior boys' national secondary schools cross-country championship over 6km by a handy 23s from Hayden McLaren (Shirley BHS).

"It was a better race than I had last year," said Salad, 18. "I wasn't feeling well last year and finished sixth, but since then I have increased my training mileage."

Trained by Fairfield College teacher John Tylden, who first spotted him at that school race, Salad is also a more than useful track runner, having already run under the 3000m steeplechase qualifying time for next year's world junior track and field championships.

"I would also like to try and qualify for the Commonwealth Games," said Salad, who was handed his New Zealand citizenship last November.

The titles were shared by several schools at the national championships, with Pakuranga College's Kelsei Patterson running strongly to lead home Annie Keown (Auckland Girls Grammar) in an Auckland one-two in the under-16 race over 4km.

Keown's sister Esther was just 3s behind Hannah Newbould (Cashmere) in a closely fought junior race with only 7s between first and third.

The senior girls' race was won by New Zealand junior mountain running champion Ruth Croft (Rangi Ruru). Rangitoto College, led by Rebecca Spence (7th) finished second in the three-person teams race.

Auckland teams fared well, with Westlake BHS winning both the three- and six-person junior boys' races to match St Cuthberts' double success in the girls' under-16 teams races. Diocesan and St Kentigern College won the junior girls' team titles.

Source: New Zealand Herald, June 22, 2005


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