MASERU – Lesotho’s top taekwondo referee, Mojapela ’Mefane, recently sharpened his adjudication skills in the sport. ’Mefane was among top taekwondo referees who were drilled on new rules of the game prior to the Chuncheon Korea Open and the African Senior Taekwondo Championships which were held last month and a fortnight ago respectively. The Chuncheon Korea Open took place at Hoban Gymnasium in South Korea from June 24 to 27, while the African Senior Taekwondo Championships were held at the Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda from July 13 to 17.
“I went to both competitions by invitation, and what is most important was getting an opportunity to attend two days’ refresher courses prior to the games (each) and which was essential since taekwondo rules have changed,” said ’Mefane in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday. Mefane added: “I was together with Moshoeshoe Molapo at the African Senior Taekwondo Championships.” Molapo is also a top taekwondo referee in the region and is also the President of the Confederation of Southern African Taekwondo Associations (COSATA), while ’Mefane is the COSATA Referees’ Chairman.
Before the Chuncheon Korea Open and the African Senior Taekwondo Championships, ’Mefane was invited to officiate at the Niger Taekwondo Open held at the Niamey Sports Palace in April this year. “But because of lack of funds and expensive flight ticket, I did not make the Niger trip,” ’Mefane said. “You will remember that our association (Lesotho Taekwondo Association) is still suspended and that’s what makes it even difficult for us to get funds for important trips like these.”
’Mefane and Molapo had to fund themselves for the South Korea and Kigali trips. ’Mefane is also invited for the upcoming Senegal Taekwondo Open which is set to take place in October this year. “So I do hope that I will make the Senegal trip but that will depend on the availability of funds.” ’Mefane is also preparing for the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games to be held in Malawi in December this year.
He said it’s important to attend these international taekwondo championships ahead of the Region 5 Games since that forms part of preparation for the Malawi games. “We are already preparing for the Region 5 Games and it’s important for us (COSATA officials) to attend these international championships and refresher courses like the ones I have been to because now I will be able to update our technical officials about new taekwondo rules.
“This is important for us technical officials because when referees lack good refereeing skills the competitions are affected.” ’Mefane officiated in several African taekwondo championships before the Rwanda championships. He has also officiated at the World Taekwondo Championships and at the Grand Prix before.