THE 31st Quinton Steele Botes Athletics Coaching and Training Camp was launched at Windhoek’s Independence Stadium on Wednesday, with top South African and Namibian coaches being joined by a Dutch coach for the four-day event.
South African high jump coach Jonathan Greyvenstein and long jump coach Charlie Strohmenger were once again present at the camp, which has now become an institution on the Namibian sporting calandar, with Greyvenstein lauding the event.
“What you have achieved here in Namibia with this course is fantastic. In South Africa they will maybe make it to five years, but here in Namibia it has been running for 31 years now,” he said, and urged the athletes to put God first in their lives.
“I coached a world champion but there were friends who were more important than God, so what happened, he started using drugs and at the end of the day he lost everything. If you don’t put God first you can go nowhere, but if you put God first he will take you to another level,” he said.
Dutch middle and long distance coach Grete Koens was also present with some of the Netherlands’ top middle distance prospects who are currently on a training camp in Namibia, preparing for the upcoming European season.
Some of Namibia’s coaches include Christine Mboma’s coach Henk Botha, who will cover sprints, Ryan Williams, Robert Wheal, FC Pieters, Carel Swanepoel and Tangeni Nakale.
The event organiser Leonie van Rensburg said it was a privilege to host the event.
“It’s a privilege for me that we can hold the Quinton Steele Botes training camp now consistently for 31 years. This camp has grown every year with athletes and coaches, and new coaches, who are doing terrific work, while our loyal sponsors have also helped us a lot,” she said.
Only about 100 primary and secondary school athletes attended the opening day of the course, but Van Rensburg said more were expected.
“There were not too many athletes today, but some of the people are still coming back from the holidays, and a lot have entered for tomorrow. Over the past few years we have been losing a lot of our senior, skilled athletes, and I think it’s because a lot of the athletes left school at 17 when the new education system of Namibia was introduced. Now they are only 16, and next year when they are 17, they are done with school and then there is no more effort,” she said.
Coach Botha said he was looking forward to participating in the course and discovering new talent.
“It’s an honour being here and we are excited and happy to work with the new coaches and athletes here and obviously this is where we can identify new athletes and try and develop them into superstars for the future,” he said, adding that he welcomed the presence of Koens and her Dutch athletes.
“This has been my dream, that we get European athletes to come and prepare here in Namibia in summertime during their winter time, so we’ve got the best conditions, but we must just get a better track,” he said.
Van Rensburg thanked the sponsors of the course, namely the main sponsor Chrystal Gold, and the secondary sponsors Coca-Cola, Food Lover’s Market, Fabu Pharm, Interpack Namibia, Auas Motors and the ATKV.
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