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Taekwondo fights take new twist

Leemisa Thuseho

THE fights at the Lesotho Taekwondo Association (LTA) have taken a new twist after the association recently turned down the Lesotho National Olympic (LNOC’s) offer to finance local technical officials’ enrolment in an online World Taekwondo Federation course.

The deadline for the course’s registration deadline was 20 September 2020.

The course was meant to train referees, support referees, judges and time keepers.

The Sunday Express is informed that the LNOC requested that the LTA submits a list of technical officials for the course as per the recommendations of Moshoeshoe Molapo, the regional technical delegate for the 2020 African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 games.

Molapo is also the local technical delegate for Lesotho’s taekwondo team for the Region 5 games. He had hoped to use the course in preparing technical officials for the AUSC Games Maseru 2021 games.

However, it appears that the tensions between the LTA and Molapo have reached a simmering stage.

The current LTA committee has a pending matter before the LNOC and the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Committee (LSRC) after some clubs challenged the committee’s legitimacy over the failure to call for and hold elections. The clubs say the committee dissolved itself by failing to hold elections 14 days before 14 February 2020 as per the association’s constitution.

LTA public relations officer Sek’hok’he Molikoe said they did not apply for the course because they were unhappy with the technical delegate’s list of officials. He said Molapo came up with the list with the input of neither the LTA’s vice president technical Likhama Leuta nor the committee.

“We are in charge of taekwondo and we can’t be told who should be appointed for certain course…we have referees whom we have been working with and they need to be trained and be certified, so we cannot be forced to use a list that was made by a certain individual without engaging the LTA,” Molikoe said.

Apparently, the problems between the two organisations after the LNOC failed to assist the LTA in hosting a coaches’ course in June this year. The LNOC said it did not have the money at the time and also said the LTA’s request was late.

Molikoe said they urgently need certified coaches in line with WTF’s requirements that uncertified coaches are no longer allowed to coach in international competitions. Now that they have already compiled a list of coaches whom they had promised to train, they cannot afford to dump them and train referees instead.

“We want to start with coaches then referees will follow… that is how we had planned,” he said.

Prior to registration deadline, the LNOC requested from the LTA but it was ignored.

“We haven’t received a response from your office regarding the email which clearly states that the deadline for the online course is 20 September. Can LTA please provide the relevant endorsements for the participants so that the LNOC can provide financial support (registration fee).

“If the LTA doesn’t endorse, can we get clarification/explanation please,” the LNOC wrote to the LTA.

Molikoe said currently, Lesotho has no certified coaches and they have only up to December to have sent coaches for courses.

“For now, our main concern is the lack of qualified coaches… As for referees, we can still go and compete internationally without them as the international and regional bodies usually provide their own referees from other countries.

“We can’t turn our backs onto the fact that we also need referees but we want to start with coaches” Molikoe said.

For his part, Molapo said if the LTA did not want to train technical officials, as it still had chance to submit its own list.

“I submitted a list of referees who are still active and those that I once trained… that was a recommendation not an order,” Molapo said.

He stated his focus is to train referees for Region 5 games and that has nothing to do with LTA’s primary responsibility of developing coaches and referees.

“We do not need coaches to run and manage the games. Each country will need only two coaches but for technical officials, we need more than 30 of which we will not be allowed to import all of them because the aim of the games is to also benefit the host country,” Molapo said.

Molapo said Covid-19 has also presented an opportunity that will allow referees to attend course online which are much cheaper.

He also believes that the LTA’s reluctance to participate in the training technical officials was politically driven. He accused the association of sabotaging him at the expense of the nation.

“In my capacity as regional and local technical delegate, I want them to come out clear whether or not they want taekwondo to host successful events during the AUSC games or not. I am concerned that they want Lesotho and the region fail.

“I have already drawn the games technical manual and I know what the country needs for it host successful taekwondo events,” Molapo said.

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