Tannie Ans Botha and Wayde van Niekerk have come a long way together. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

The limelight shifted from her world famous charge to her as Tannie Ans Botha collected the Coaching Achievement Award at the IAAF Annual Awards evening in Monaco on Friday.

The septuagenarian was recognised for her role in promoting athletics while her star athlete, 400m world record-holder Wayde van Niekerk missed out on the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year Award.

Van Niekerk, who made the three-man shortlist for the second consecutive year, lost out to Qatar's high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim.

“Dear coach Tannie Ans, no achievement shines brighter than love and a good heart,” Van Niekerk wrote on Twitter.

“You deserve all the praise and recognition. Although that’s never been or ever will be the motive. You a legend.”

Barshim has been one of athletics’ biggest stars and once again proved his world class form in 2017.

He was one of the most consistent performers this yea,r going undefeated throughout the season and winning 11 competitions.

He won the world title in London before adding the Diamond Trophy while he also became the first high jumper in history to leap 2.40m or higher in five successive years.

On receiving her award, Botha said she would not have been able to have been involved in the sport for over 50 years if she did not have passion as a driving force.

“Number one, love for what you do, a passion, and the third one is enthusiasm. If you don’t have that I don’t think you will persevere for nearly 50 years,” Botha said at the swanky evening.

“In women’s coaching there are a lot of challenges especially when you are a mother.

“But you should chase your dream, achieve for yourself, live your love and passion out for your athletes and what you can achieve for them.”

The Namibian has been working with the wunderkind of South African running since 2012 with Van Niekerk reaching unprecedented heights in global athletics.

Botha, who turns 76 next month, has been the architect behind Van Niekerk’s success which includes double world 400m titles, an Olympic gold medal, and the world record in the one-lap sprint.

Botha began her career as a coach in the late 1960s and has been the head coach at the University of the Free State since 1990.

Belgian heptathlete Nafissatou Thiam walked away with the female World Athlete of the Year Award.

Sunday Tribune

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