Swakopmund karateka step onto world stage

Two young dedicated karateka represented Namibia at an Olympic qualifier in Paris, France, this past weekend.

15 June 2021 | Sports

PULL QUOTE: Louisa Kativa, Swakopmund mayor; “Keanu and Mayvonne are a part of our community and true ambassadors for our town, the region and our country.”

Iréne-Mari van der Walt

Two young karateka from Swakopmund, Mayvonne Swart and Keanu Stuurman, completed an Olympic qualifier in Paris over the weekend.

Their trip to France was made possible by the Swakopmund mayor’s development fund and local donors.

“The Swakopmund municipality gives its full support to youth and sport development. Keanu and Mayvonne are a part of our community and true ambassadors for our town, the region and our country,” said Swakopmund mayor Louisa Kativa.

Fundraising

After Sugnet Smit of The Dome in Swakopmund reached out to a radio audience regarding funds for Keanu’s daily expenditures in Paris, the Swakopmund Rotary Club ensured that an envelope with cash reached The Dome labelled simply: ‘For the Karate Kid’.

The Namibian Karate Association covered the financial costs of the top two chosen athletes but seeing as Mayvonne and Keanu were in third and fourth places, they were roughly N$45 000 short.

Dedication

Keanu Stuurman graduated from Namib High School in Swakopmund and shortly after formed part of The Dome’s Elite Athletic team.

He says his goal for this year is to qualify to represent Namibia at the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Stuurman has been dedicated to this sport since the age of seven. He trains under the leadership of Sensei Valdemar Swart, the owner of Shotokan Karate Academy International (SKAI) in Swakopmund. Swart has been Keanu’s trainer since he first started roughly 14 years ago.

He supplements his karate training with fitness training at The Dome Gym.

“We believe that exposure will sharpen his talents for him to reach greater heights,” says Ulla Finkeldey, director at The Dome Gym and Keanu’s personal trainer and mentor.

He shares that his dream has always been to represent Namibian karate on the world stage, but says that success did not come overnight.

His current achievements are an accumulation of 14 years of dedication and training.

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