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Competition moulds athlete into a star

DORCAS THEKO

MASERU – Experience secured from the taekwondo sport in different competitions at local and international levels has contributed immeasurably in turning Rethabile Lesenyeho, an ordinary athlete, into a recognized taekwondo star in Lesotho. Lesenyeho, aged 24, started playing Taekwondo in 2011 at Lesia High School, playing for the school club.

He started putting on a White Belt, which indicates purity and without the knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo. In the same year, he participated in Vision 2020 Tournament which was held in Roma and won a silver medal. In 2012, still wearing a White Belt holder, he participated in a local tournament which was held at Sefika High School and won a Bronze Medal.

His recognition came after qualifying to represent Lesotho in China in 2013. “I did not train for the duration of six months before the match because I was still preparing myself for the Junior Certificate Examinations since I was in Form C,” he said. He further indicated that he was not even aware of the match but was notified by his coach who did not made it clear that winning the match will give him an opportunity to go to China. In the same year he won a Bronze Medal in the first Korean Ambassadors Cup held in Maseru.

After winning the Qualification to China Tournament skipping all the nine grades in 2013, he mastered the nine geup (grades) of taekwondo and upgraded to a higher level. “It took me only a year to wear a Black Belt which is worn in the highest grade, skipping Orange Belt, Yellow Belt, Camouflage (Camo) Belt, Green Belt, Purple Belt, Blue Belt, Brown Belt, Red Belt, Red and Black Belt,” he noted.

In February 2014, Lesenyeho spent two weeks in China representing the country with some alongside other local players where they competed against athletes from many countries. “I was defeated so badly, however I gained much experience,” he recalls. In July the same year, he spent another two weeks in Botswana representing the country in All Africa Games where he was also defeated at the semi-finals and missed a Bronze Medal.

Upon his return from China and Botswana, he won the gold medal at the Second Korean Ambassador Cup in Maseru in October 2014, an achievement which mended his heart after he lost in China and Botswana.

In 2015 during his final year in high school, he participated in the Third Korean Ambassador Cup in Maseru and won a silver medal. The following year, he then became a trainer at Masowe High School, mentoring the Masowe Taekwondo Club. Even though Lesenyeho is a highly graded Taekwondo athlete, there is still a long way to go. His current grade has four levels (dans) and he is in the first Dan.

“I still want to see myself in the fourth Dan one day,” he said. Apart from Taekwondo, Lesenyeho is an actor in Mosola Comedy which has episodes on both YouTube and Facebook platforms. He also plays the role of ‘Ntaote’ in the Days of COVID-19 soapie which is yet to be released. “I believe one day I will play for soapies like Rhythm City,” Lesenyeho hopefully said. The talented star is currently pursuing his studies at National University of Lesotho’s Institute of Extra Mural Studies (IEMS) studying for Diploma in Business Management.

“Youth should focus on their talents. We are living in times of high unemployment rate; therefore, the youth should stick to their talents and believe in themselves because that is where they can earn a living.” Lesenyeho recommended.

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