The annual Athletics Course and Training Camp organised by Quinton Steele Botes, is currently taking place for the 19th consecutive year at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium.
The course which started on Monday, has drawn a record 357 participants who are being put through their paces by 20 qualified coaches from South Africa and Namibia.
Course organiser Quinton Steele Botes said he was happy with the turnout but did not want to make it much bigger.
“This is a record turnout but we don’t want to expand much more. Its more important that the training groups are manageable and that they receive intensive coaching,” he said.
Some of the South African coaches include Hugo Badenhorst (high jump), Steve Rautenbach (hurdles), Marna van der Merwe (shot put and discus) and Sunette Viljoen (javelin).
The Namibian coaches include Letu Hamhola, Lucky Gawanab, Leoni van Rensburg, Aletta Hess and Xvarius Smit amongst others.
A notable absentee this year is German biomechanist Klaus Bartonietz who is currently in China to help prepare their javelin throwers for the Olympic Games. Bartonietz has been a regular at the clinic since its inception in 1994 but according to Botes this has opened the door for Sunette Viljoen to take over the javelin coaching duties.
“It’s a pity Klaus can’t be here, but he is currently in China to help prepare their javelin throwers for the Olympics. But his absence has opened the door for Sunette Viljoen to help out with the javelin coaching and I’m sure her presence will motivate and inspire our athletes,” he said.
Viljoen is the African javelin champion while she also won a bronze medal at the 2010 World Athletics Championships in South Korea.
The athletics course was officially opened by Athletics Namibia president Frank Fredericks on Monday, while the national co-ordinator of the Namibia School Sport Union, Solly Duiker also addressed the participants.
Some of Namibia’s top athletes like Tjipe Herunga, Globine Majova and Daniel Nghipandulwa are also attending the course while others like Sherwin Vries and triple jumper Roger Haitengi were on hand to give the athletes advice.
The course caters for all the main athletics disciplines, ranging from short, middle and long distances, to hurdles, long and high jump, shot put, discus and javelin.
The course will carry on till Friday when the official closing ceremony will be held at 11h30.
The sponsors of the course include Bank Windhoek, Engen Namibia, Coca Cola, Wimpy, Hyundai, Adidas, Starlight, Vitajuice and Dunlop Super Tyres 2000.
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