Lesotho appears 2nd in international taekwondo tourney


MASERU – The Maseru Regional Taekwondo Team clinched 33 medals, securing the second position in a four-nation tournament held in Maseru last week. Lesotho competed across male and female senior categories, as well as junior and cadet sections, against opponents from Botswana, Eswatini, and South Africa. Sergeant Thakamphaki Ntšihlele, from the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and also serving as the national taekwondo team coach for the Team Cup, expressed immense satisfaction with the team’s performance and their resulting position.

Outlining their achievements, he disclosed a total of 33 medals, comprising 26 silver and seven gold. Notably, the team secured second place in both the male and female cadet categories, earning two silver and two gold medals, respectively. Additionally, they claimed first place in male juniors with one silver and three golds and second place in female juniors with two silvers and one gold.

In the senior male and female categories, each team garnered five silver medals. Furthermore, the mixed gender team clinched second place with six silvers, along with additional recognition for coaches with three silver medals. Ntšihlele explained that the top spot corresponds to a gold medal, while the second position merits a silver medal. Regarding the overall standings, Lesotho secured second place, with Eswatini claiming the first position, Botswana placing third, and South Africa trailing in fourth.

“Despite encountering numerous challenges, such as the limited time for preparation and player selection, as well as the task of acquainting them with new gameplay strategies,” remarked Ntšihlele, “we successfully transitioned them from their previous approaches to embrace innovative tactics.” He highlighted the weight categories as another hurdle, particularly in the cadet division, where they fielded only seven participants instead of the required 20. Nonetheless, he viewed the tournament as an enlightening experience for the team. In contrast, Technical Director Moshoeshoe Molapo expressed satisfaction with the team’s overall performance, deeming the tournament a success.

This marks the third occasion that Lesotho has hosted this international tournament, having previously done so in 2013 and 2016. Consequently, the event brought great satisfaction not only to the organisers but also to the participating nations.

Representing the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC), ’Mathato Makhobole expressed immense pride in the team’s achievement of securing second place, especially considering their prolonged absence from competitive tournaments. Despite encountering various challenges, Makhobole emphasised their ability to overcome obstacles, highlighting the significance of winning medals in motivating the players to excel in future competitions.