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Chaplin rises from the ‘dead’ after three years


…scoops two major titles and a national team coaching job

Chris Theko

Multi-talented sports enthusiast Neo Chapole who had been out of action from the sporting fields for some three years made a banging come-back to the scene scooping two top awards and a national team coaching role for her Taekwondo exploits.

Chapole, or Chaplin as she is popular known to the sports faithful, is a seasoned Taekwondo athlete who also excels in and plays Volleyball for one of the country’s best teams and current league champions Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS).

She defied the odds when she miraculously stepped-out of what many thought was a career-threatening injury to reclaim her place at the table of the great athletes winning gold in a national contest and silver in a sub-regional tournament, both before being 100% free off the injury. 

Chaplin sustained an ankle injury while on national duty preparing for the 2019 African Championships. The injury was so server that it forced her out-of-action for no less than three years.

She only returned to full training in 2021 after several attempts during 2020 where she competed in one competition that was hosted at the National University of Lesotho, at which time she had also gone back to playing Volleyball. The rehabilitation process which proved effective supplemented by extra training for volleyball, saw her challenge herself to go back to intensive taekwondo training.

“I was doing a lot of cardio which entailed running during my rehabilitation while taking it easy with volleyball, this prompted me to go back to full training in taekwondo where I started with indoor high intensity training since January,” Chaplin said.

Her return to full competitiveness in the sport after the layoff was during the Taekwondo Senior Championship which was organized by another successful female taekwondo athlete in Michelle Tau at the Makoanyane Barracks hall in May this year.

“I had two fights at the recent tournament organized by my compatriot Michelle and won a gold medal, my first ever medal since my return to the sport.

“Soon after that I had a relapse when I was playing volleyball in a tournament that took place in Bloemfontein after twisting the same ankle which I refused to falter under and I went back to gym preparing for the tournament that was to be hosted in eSwatini,” she said.

It was at the same tournament where she managed a second spot and won a silver medal as her second since her mysterious ‘resurrection’.

The 31-year-old has also recently been appointed the national team coach for the under-20 African Union Sports Council (AUSC) region 5 games. 

“Before the trip to eSwatini I was informed that I would be assuming the role of national team coach of the AUSC Games, something that made me very happy because I have always dreamed of being a coach at some point in my career,” she said. 

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