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Tannie Ans to deliver another Wayde?

2016-08-17 06:30
Wayde van Niekerk and Ans Botha (Gallo)

Rio de Janeiro - Ans Botha, the now famous coach of South Africa's 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk, could be delivering another world class athlete or two in the years to come. 

Based in Bloemfontein, Botha works with a group of athletes that Van Niekerk joined in October of 2012. 

And, according to the 74-year-old, there are a few athletes under her watch that could soon be achieving on the highest stage.

"Oh yes. I’ve got two girls and another boy … all sprinters," Botha told media when asked if she had any other exciting prospects capable of winning Olympic gold. 

Botha, who has been coaching since 1968, believes that South African sprinting is experiencing a resurgence. 

"We’re really very excited about South African sprinters coming through now," she said.

According to Botha, it has taken South Africa a while to recover from the isolation period that saw the country banned from competing on the international stage.

"I think because we were out of international sport and athletics for so long it took quite a bit of time to get up there," she said.

"Especially for our coaches … we had to take our time; it was a time of learning and teaching and progressing ... learning to do the best for the athlete."

Outside of Van Niekerk's Olympic gold, South Africa saw Akani Simbine finish 5th in the final of the 100m sprint on Sunday (Monday morning, SA time). 

But there was disappointment on Tuesday when all three of the country's 200m hopes - Anaso Jobodwana, Tlotliso Leotlela and Clarence Munyai - crashed out of the heats. 

Social media was alive with queries over why Simbine was not running the 200m - a decision that SASCOC made months before the Games. 

Still, Van Niekerk believes that South African sprinting is on the rise. 

"To be honest, I think this is only the beginning of South African sprinting," Van Niekerk said.

"We're all still very young and we all have so much more to prove on the circuit. I think with the backing of the country and from having a solid team we will go and achieve so much more as a nation."

Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...

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