A Man of Faith [analysis]

Namibian sport has lost a great man after the untimely death of Quinton Steele Botes this week and his absence will be felt acutely in the years to come.

Quinton had fought courageously against cancer for seven years, and although he made a remarkable recovery, that confounded medical experts, the cancer struck again earlier this year to claim his life.

But what a life he had and what an inspirational legacy he has left for Namibian sport and its people.

I remember an article that I did about him years ago when he left the security of a teaching job and followed his passion, taking a leap into the unknown to start a career as a sport consultant.

I remember he told me of his fears – then a young man with a wife and three children – and he was not sure whether this jump into the unknown would be successful. It was a leap of faith, but as a devout Christian, that’s one thing that he did not lack and his faith, work ethic and expertise turned him into a colossus of Namibian sport.

His first love was athletics and he became an inspirational coach, but it was as an instructor that he received international recognition. He went on to become Namibia’s highest qualified athletics and Olympics instructor and won an award from the IOC for the promotion of athletics in Namibia. He became a lecturer and course director for the IOC and the IAAF and served on Namibian National Athletics Union (NAAU) and the Namibia National Olympic Committee.

But these stats don’t tell the story of the man and the fighting spirit that he had.

There were low points and controversies in his life, like the battle between him and the former NAAU president Alpha Kangueehi, that led to his resignation from NAAU, with Kangueehi claiming that he would never host a sporting event again.

And the Olympic Games controversy in Athens 2004 when he accompanied the Namibian national team as a technical manager but was sent home by the NNOC after saying in a radio broadcast to Namibia that there were too many officials and too few athletes in the Namibian team.

But although he fell foul of the authorities, one could not keep his irrepressible spirit and work ethic down.

He became a sports organiser of repute and the Quinton Steele Botes Athletics Course and Training Camp, that he started in 1994 became the most enduring athletics course in Namibia, celebrating its 21st anniversary in January this year.

He had many other skills and also excelled as a fundraiser, a sponsorship coordinator, a manager, a radio presenter and a motivational speaker.

He became a brand ambassador and sponsorship coordinator for numerous companies and I remember his tireless work in organising press conferences, ensuring that the media was present and that his sponsors got exposure and value for their money.

A good example of this was in April this year when he oversaw the graduation of 11 Namibian sport administrators, who received IOC Level One Aanced Sport Leadership and Administration course diplomas. Despite the graduation ceremony taking place on a Friday evening, Botes managed to get all the media houses present for the event, where his uniqueness and value was once again underlined by NNOC secretary general, Joan Smit.

“We wanted to implement the course two and a half years ago, but then things were not going so well with Quinton. But we trusted and believed that he would come back because he is the only one in Namibia trained to do this course, and God brought Quinton back for us and we are so grateful,” she said.

In his final years he became a sought after motivational speaker and spread the word of God, inspiring many more people through his faith and his courageous battle with cancer.

He started the Quinton Steele Botes Cancer Funs which went on to assist more than 60 cancer patients, and after he passed on, his exceptional value to his society started to come through in tributes on Facebook.

“What an honour it was to work with you. Always positive, always smiling – Namibian sport has lost a legend,” Namibian Olympian Gaby Ahrens posted.

There were many more tributes, from athletes and sport administrators to other cancer sufferers and people whom had benefitted from his cancer fund.

“You were an exceptional person, giving selflessly to people suffering from cancer. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” another wrote after her husband had received assistance from the fund.

Quinton’s immense value to Namibian sport will only be realised in the coming years, when his absence will be felt acutely. What will happen to his coaching clinic and will that continue? Who will organise athletics events and courses now, who will conduct Olympic courses, who will be a brand ambassador for companies and coordinate sponsorships and press conferences for them.

Quinton was one of a kind, and will leave a big void in Namibian sport.

He was a friend, a colleague, a teacher, an organiser, a motivational speaker, an administrator, a fundraiser and a radio presenter amongst others, but most of all, and especially in his final years, he was a man of God, who spread His word wherever he came.

Through his faith he overcame his fears and travelled far, inspiring thousands of people along the way.

Rest in Peace Quinton

Source : The Namibian