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I want to create the next champion runners - Swartbooi

by   Rodney Pienaar

Retired long distance runner Luketz Swartbooi will be looking into training and coaching young Namibian athletes to become future marathon stars. 

Swartbooi started competing at international races in 1992 and soon became a household name representing Namibian marathon runners around the world.

His career came to an abrupt end when he sustained an injury to the knee at one of the international competitions he was taking part in.

As a retired runner, he now works at the Rehoboth town council as a driver.

At the recently held Sports Awards, he was one amongst others who was honoured as a sports legend.

“I have worked hard to earn all the titles I have won. It is a God-given gift that needs to be polished by every one of us by ourselves that is if you feel that you can be a marathon champion.

“It is not easy, but hard work pays off at the end of the day. I have fought a good fight, and now is the time that I pass all I know and what I am good at to the next Namibian,” he said. 

He told The Villager Sport that he has seen local talent and there are many young runners with potential.

He said that they would need to be steered in the right direction to make them champions as Namibians are always winners.

“It is just a matter of self-discipline, perseverance and self-control,” he added.

Swartbooi said that as a champion he wants to be included in activities related to athletics in the country.

“It is about time that I am called in to be a part of Athletics Namibia. I have been on track for a long time, and I know how to handle athletes and how to train them just like I trained to become a champion. 

“I am not underestimating anyone I just want to help with making champions,” he said. 

He has witnessed good discipline among Namibian athletes when they compete in international competitions.

Swartbooi was part of the team that went to the 1992 Spain Olympics in Barcelona, where he did not win any medals.

This was his first competition at an international level.

In that same year, he took part in the exclusive 42km run at the California International Marathon, and he won a silver medal after finishing second within 2 hours and 14 minutes.

In 1993 he took part in the Boston Marathon and scooped the 3rd place within a 2-hour 09-minutes record and was awarded a bronze medal.

He then went on to compete at the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany that same year.