Congratulations to the brilliant Anna Botha for picking up track and field’s most prestigious Coaching Award – IAAF Coaching Achievement of the Year Award.
Anna Botha, a name that not many in the sporting World had heard of before the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, made a name for herself on the night of August 14th, in the Olympic Stadium, Rio de Janeiro.
Wade Van Niekerk, a 24 year old sprinter from South Africa broke the 17 year old World Record in the 400m (set by legendary US athlete Michael Johnson in 1999) to become the Olympic Champion. That Olympic Champion, is coached by Anna Botha.
Ans and Wayde have been working together since 2012; two years after van Niekerk caught her attention when he finished fourth in the 200m final of the 2010 IAAF World Junior Champtionships in Canada.
Originally from Namibia, Ans, a former athlete herself who competed in the sprints and long jump, began coaching her own son in the 1960s. Almost 50 years of coaching later, she has been Head Track and Field Coach at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, since 1990, and now coach to one of histories greatest ever athletes.
Despite her huge experience in coaching, worry over the responsibility of training a world-class talent accompanied the excitement she felt, Botha said.
“I wouldn’t say I’m afraid … but I have such a big responsibility to get this athlete to develop to his full potential. Also, I need to try to do my very best not to do something wrong that might break him. I’m very blessed because I don’t have any health problems, and it is because I’m busy with young people – and you have to be high up there with them. My passion is too high to even think about that.”
Anna won this years awards because of her achievements once again with Wayde as he won Gold at this years World Athletics Championships held in London back in August.
Picking up her award for her achievements, Anna was asked by Awards presenter (and track star herself!) Katherine Merry what her secret is to successful coaching and why there aren’t more female coaches at the highest levels of the sport:
Video and Images from: IAAF
To read the IAAF Interview with Anna Botha, CLICK HERE