Windhoek – Former Olympian and long-distance runner Luketz Swaartbooi of Namibia has had a street named after him in his hometown of Rehoboth.
The 55-year-old, who is employed by the Rehoboth Town Council, also received a plot of land.
“Now this is something I never expected. I am so proud to be a resident of this beautiful town of Rehoboth. I thank the people who took the initiative and made this dream a reality. I hope this is a good example to the young people of this town of what they can achieve through sport,” he said.
Swaartbooi’s athletics journey started at Rehoboth High School, after which he joined the now defunct Sunshine Athletics Club in Katutura, Windhoek. Before long, he was dominating the domestic marathon scene.
He qualified for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games in Spain, which was his and the country’s debut appearance at the global sporting event.
In that same year, he won the Rossing Marathon in a time of 2:11:23 – a record that stands until today.
Swaartbooi participated at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, Canada, amongst other significant international meets, before retiring in 2009.
Now he wants to open an academy.
“My goal now is to now start coaching young upcoming athletes, to share all the knowledge and experience I gained throughout the years. It has been my dream for a long while now and soon if the COVID-19 situation allows, I want to get my plans in motion.
“I want to help aspiring marathoners achieve their dreams too. Namibia has a lot of talent. I have valuable experience I have picked up through my active days as a runner and I am very knowledgeable in long distance running. I need to share that knowledge,” said Swaartbooi.
The country’s most decorated long-distance runner won silver at the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany; and finished third the following year in the Boston Marathon in the United States with personal best of 2:09:08.
The Windhoek Harriers Athletics Club legend is Namibia’s marathon record holder, in addition to also owning the Namibian half-marathon and 10km records.