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Lesotho hosts regional taekwondo tournament


Seabata Mahao

The Lesotho Taekwondo Association (LTA), in collaboration with the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA), is set to kick off the inaugural taekwondo tournament today, marking a significant milestone in the region’s sporting landscape.

Held at the Lehakoe Recreational Center in Maseru, the tournament aims to spotlight the growing passion for taekwondo in Lesotho while advancing efforts to nurture and promote the sport, which has witnessed remarkable strides in recent years.

Participating nations from the COSAFA region, including Botswana, Eswatini, and South Africa, will gather to compete in this regional showcase, welcoming both seasoned athletes and emerging talents onto the mat.

Beyond the spirit of competition, this event seeks to cultivate camaraderie and fair play among neighbouring countries, fostering cross-cultural exchanges and providing a platform for athletes to exhibit their prowess.

The collaboration between LTA and COSAFA reflects a strategic initiative to diversify and elevate sports within Southern Africa, extending beyond COSAFA’s traditional association with football to embrace the multifaceted world of taekwondo.

This partnership not only aims to elevate the profile of taekwondo but also to inspire a new generation of practitioners, encouraging youth across the region to embrace the discipline and artistry of this martial art form.

Napo Moshoeshoe, the Technical Director of LTA said the tournament was for elite players from the age of 17 upwards although, there would be a special segment for younger athletes.

“The competition will be organised in two distinct categories; male and female. Each squad will consist of four primary players plus one substitute.

“Children aged 12 to 14 years will have an opportunity to compete in the matches designed specifically for their age group. Teams in this junior division are required to enlist ten members to participate,” Moshoeshoe stated.

On his part, the interim Vice President of LTA and the Local Organising Committee Chairperson, Boshepha Mapesela mentioned that there were disruptions in the planning of hosting this tournament.

“We faced multiple challenges from the directors, prompting us to pause the tournaments temporarily. This pause allowed us to focus on rebuilding and strengthening the foundation of taekwondo in our nation,”

“The significance of the upcoming tournament is a catalyst for economic enhancement in Lesotho. Botswana, Eswatini, and South Africa have confirmed their participation, this event promises to be a substantial boost to our local economy,” Mapesela explained.

Speaking on behalf of the coaches, Thakamphaki Ntšihlele indicated that LTA has been working diligently to ensure that all preparations are in place.

“LTA secured the best facilities, organising training camp for athletes, and coordinated with international taekwondo bodies to ensure the highest standards of competition. Safety protocol and measures have also been prioritised to ensure a safe environment for all participants and spectators,” he said.

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