The Parade College Writing Workshop – Zyon Iosefo: The underdogs

By Zyon Iosefo


It was my first ever competition representing my primary school, School of the Good Shepherd. It was a tiny school just under three hundred kids located near the airport in Gladstone Park. In the mid-1980s School of the Good Shepherd was the biggest Catholic primary school in Victoria.


It was the first 4x100m relay training session and unfortunately, my twin brother did not make the team. I was so happy to start training but before we started, I saw my teammate talking with our coach Mr. K. Then he runs off. Mr. K turned to me and told me to go get my brother. So, I ran looking all around the playground to find him. Once I found him, I told him that I think that he is in the relay team. I took him back and Mr. K told him that he was in the team. Mr. K said that my brother Dre is determined and will work hard.


So, we trained hard for the next term and a bit and then it was Gladstone Park District competition. I was nervous because Hugo Garcia, one of my best mates, Dre and I were all nine years old racing in a U10s event. Carlos Egan was the only ten-year-old and he was running the last leg. I remember the start of the race, I was the first leg and was anxious for the gun. The silence before the gun was one of the most nerve-wracking moments ever. But when the gun went off, I just took off. Then I handed the baton to Hugo and he sprinted down the second leg. We had an amazing lead by the time Dre gave it to Carlos the other teams were still on their third leg. When Carlos passed the line, the other teams were 70 meters back still fighting for second and third. It was an amazing feeling, but it was only District and we had to work hard to reach our goal of becoming State Champions.


We then prepared for the Woodlands Division where we also won by a large margin, but the Northern Metropolitan Regionals were different. In the Regionals we had two races, the heat and the final. This was my first time having to race twice in one day. We ran the first race and won by a smooth margin, but knowing I had one more race I knew my job wasn’t done. At the start of the second race, my thought process was to give my teammates a good start and trust that they can do the rest. The gun went off and I was well ahead of the competition, I handed it to Hugo who kept the lead down the back straight. He then handed it to Dre who flew around the corner then handed it to Carlos who broke away from the rest of the pack. We were the first people from our school to make it to the State Championships.

The School Sports Victoria State Championships were held at Lakeside Stadium. Once I entered the Stadium, I was shocked to see the blue track. I had never seen a blue track before and there were so many different schools warming up on the track, and parents watching their kids compete. First up was the heat. I wanted to win the heat more than anything because my dad could only come if we made the finals. The heat started, and it was close nobody was backing down, by the time Carlos got the baton I thought we were done. We ended up coming fourth I knew only the eight fastest teams would make it through, so it was going to be tight. Then they projected the results up on the board and there we were, right at the bottom. We had qualified 8th and just edged in.


It was nearly time for the final we knew it was going to be tough. My Dad and our coach Mr. K arrived. There was a training ground behind the Stadium where we practised our baton changeovers with Mr. K. Before entering the marshalling, area Mr. K told us to repeat this in our head “We believe that we can win.” So, while in the marshalling area I repeated that in my head over and over. One kid turned to us and asked what lane we were in. We replied with eight and he said “You’re never going to win from there.” When they took us out to the track, I kept on repeating what Mr. K said in my head.


Now it was time for that deadly silence that I hated, then “Bang!” I sprinted the fastest I could and gave my teammates the lead. Hugo got the baton and held the lead but once Dre got the baton, I knew being in the eighth lane hurt us. From where I was, I could just see the guys behind him gaining and gaining but he did well to keep us in the race. Then Carlos got the baton and he had to beat a few people, so it was going to be close. He sprinted down the final straight and at that moment the whole world froze. It was a tight finish, but I didn’t know where we placed. Then I looked at the massive screen from bottom to top. I kept on looking not sixth, not fifth, not fourth but third! We came third! I sprinted to my teammates and was in shock the small little primary school from Gladstone Park that no one knew just came third in the state! I remember standing on the podium looking out at my mum, dad, little brother, Mr. K, my teammates parents and grandparents smiling and taking photos, it was such a great feeling.


That was in 2014. With our new teammate Luka replacing Carlos because he was older, we then went on to become the State champions in 2014 and in 2016 we came fourth. Then 2017 we came fourth again but with a girl named Isabella because Luka was our age but in the year above us.




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  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Great effort Zyon, what a proud moment it must have been for you standing on the podium.

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