South Africa based Namibian sprint coach Tannie Anna Botha received the prestigious Coaching Achievement Award at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2017, held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Friday.
Botha, who guided Wayde van Niekerk to the 2015 and 2017 world 400m titles and the 2016 Olympic gold medal where the South African broke the world record with a sensational 43.03 run
The 76-year-old mentor has capped her lengthy career by making a crucial contribution to Van Niekerk’s progress in recent seasons, after guiding a number of other elite South African athletes over the last 50 years.
A former athlete who competed in the sprints and long jump, Botha, better known as Tannie Ans, began her career as a coach in the late 1960s, first by guiding her children and later by identifying and developing regional talent. She has been the head coach at the University of the Free State since 1990
Van Niekerk, meanwhile, lost out to high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar for the Male Athlete of the Year Award.
After being named alongside fellow South Africans Luvo Manyonga and Caster Semenya, among the 20 nominees for the men’s and women’s awards, Van Niekerk was shortlisted with Barshim and British distance runner Mo Farah to the top three.
“It’s a great honour to be in the top three selections, even if you don’t bring the trophy home. A special tribute to Tannie Anna Botha who flew the national flag high following her crowning as the best coach in the world.
“We now call upon her to pass on her knowledge so that we can have more successfull athletes and coaches from South Africa. Thank you for the good work.”