Sensei Stefan first started competing in Sports Karate at age 7 and became a member of the Namibian National Karate Team for the first time back in 2001 when he was selected to participate in Kata at the UFAK South (then Zone 6) Karate Championships in Gaborone, Botswana. Two years later at age 12 he earned his first international bronze medal for Namibia in the same tournament.
After completing his studies in Sports Science and Biokinetics at Stellenbosch University, Sensei Stefan returned back to the National Karate Team in 2017 and would go on to represent Namibia numerous times over the following years; most notably winning bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Karate Championships.
Besides competing as an athlete, Sensei Stefan has also been heavily involved in the training of the National Team and as served as the assistant coach at the 2022 UFAK South Karate Championships. As of March 2023, Sensei Stefan van der Merwe was voted in by the Namibia Karate Federation as the new National Coach of the Namibian Karate Team.
Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate Namibia would congratulate Sensei Stefan on this prestigious achievement and wishes him and the National Team all the best for the 2023 competition year!