Spotlight on South African Athletics’ Mentor: Ans Botha

Success in sports is often attributed to raw talent, hard work, and perseverance. But in South Africa, a nation where sport is nothing short of an obsession, there’s a name that stands out as the force behind some of the nation’s great sporting triumphs: Ans Botha. Affectionately known as Tannie Ans, this great-grandmother shot to fame when she was revealed to be the ‘super coach’ behind South Africa’s 400m champion, Wayde van Niekerk.

In the vast world of sports and everything it brings with it – good, bad, and ugly, a mentor such as Ans Botha is a breath of fresh air. She is an inspiration to many, breaking glass ceilings and paving the way for future generations of athletes and coaches. Site Editor at, Mia Fonte, who avidly watches female athletes and their coaches, had this to say:

‘As a woman myself, I’m all for breaking glass ceilings. And Ans Botha has shattered them. She really gives women in sport hope, not only for those who’d like to pursue the sport as active participants but to those who, like Botha, aspire to become coaches. She truly is the embodiment of the saying to ‘lead by example’.’

Now let’s take a closer look at Botha’s remarkable career to understand why she is such a massive inspiration to so many within South Africa’s sporting circles.

From Local Coach to Global Icon: The Early Years

Botha’s journey as a coach began in the early 1990s when she started coaching at a local athletics club in Potchefstroom. Her unique approach to Coaching, which involved personalised training and building strong relationships with athletes, quickly earned her a reputation for excellence. Her athletes soon started achieving great success at both national and international levels.

The Secret to Botha’s Success: Personalised Coaching 

Botha’s approach to coaching is what sets her apart from most other sports mentors. She vehemently believes that every athlete is different and requires a personalised approach. By focusing on their strengths and helping them address their weaknesses, Botha has proven her ability to build a strong relationship with each athlete. It is this approach that has helped her produce champions like Wayde van Niekerk.

 The Van Niekerk Connection: A Match Made in Heaven 

One of Botha’s most impressive career achievements is the role she played in van Niekerk’s sporting success. The pair met when the runner was just a teenager, and Botha immediately recognised his potential. She worked tirelessly with him to develop his skills and prepare him for the world stage. Her hard work paid off when van Niekerk won gold in the 400m at the 2016 Rio Olympics, setting a new world record in the process. At the end of the day, it was Botha’s ability to spot van Nierkerk’s talent, teamed with her excellent coaching skills, that set him up for stardom.

The Business of Creating Champions 

Although Botha’s relationship with the runner has received a lot of publicity, her success as a coach goes beyond just training van Niekerk. She has also coached other top athletes, such as Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies, who have both achieved remarkable success at the international level. Under Botha’s guidance, Simbine became the first South African to break the 10-second barrier in the 100m sprint, while Bruintjies won a silver medal at the World Championships in Beijing.

 Recognition and Legacy: The Enduring Impact of Botha’s Work 

Botha’s success with van Niekerk earned her much recognition and accolades, including being named Coach of the Year at the 2017 South African Sports Awards. Despite her age, she continues to work with young athletes and has plans to establish an academy that will provide resources and support to talented young sportspeople. Botha believes that South Africa has a wealth of talent, and with the right support, young athletes can achieve great success on the world stage.

Looking Towards The Future: Sport In South Africa 

In short, Ans Botha is a true legend in the South African athletics space, and her contribution to the sport is immeasurable. Tannie Ans’ dedication to developing young athletes is an inspiration to us all, and her legacy will continue to inspire future generations of athletes and coaches for years to come. As she continues to work with young athletes and build the next generation of champions, there is no doubt that her impact on sports in South Africa will continue to be felt for many years to come.