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Taekwondo: Govt needs to do its part

by Sunday Express
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Moorosi Tsiane

TEAM Lesotho were the overall champions of the 2016 Korean Ambassador Cup Taekwondo Team Championship that ended on Saturday last week at the Lehakoe Recreation and Cultural Centre indoor hall.

The two-day tourney saw athletes from Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho battling it out for silverware.

However, team Lesotho made sure won in the male seniors, female seniors and junior categories.

Botswana maintained their runner-ups position of last year, with last year’s winners Swaziland failing to make a mark.

The Lesotho Taekwondo Association’s (LTA) triumph marks a return from the doldrums after a marked slump in the mid-2000s.

Basotho had fared well in taekwondo during the 1990s and early 2000s, becoming Lesotho’s most successful sporting endeavor.

Among the sport’s success stories are Likeleli Thamae who won gold during the All Africa Games in 1996 and 1999 while Lineo Mochesane was African fin-weight champion in 2003.

However, the last time Lesotho qualified for the Olympic Games in the taekwondo category was in 2004.

In their bid to revive the sport, LTA brought in South Korean coach Du Khwi Lee to oversee and assist with talent identification.

If Lesotho’s performances at the 2016 Korean Ambassador Cup Taekwondo Team Championship are anything to go by, Lee’s efforts are already bearing fruits.

LTA president Moshoeshoe Molapo has previously said the tournament was nearly abandoned due to poor preparations owing to funding constraints.

However, thanks to the commitment shown by Swaziland and Botswana to participate, the tourney took place. Team Lesotho’s performance is all the more impressive considering their preparations were far from ideal.

They are going in the right direction and all that is left is for the government the promise of providing Lee a vehicle to ferry him as he scouts for talent and a hall for training.

I hear they are currently using a hall at the national stadium but have to share it with a church also renting the facility.

The LTA deserves credit for going out of its way to find Lee who is fully paid by the South Korean government. All the Lesotho government needs to do is to assist Lee to produce the intended results for this country.

Unfortunately, the taekwondo family is waiting in vain for what was promised to them.

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