By Mosa Mojonothoane
A Taekwondo Practitioner and Batonbearer who competes internationally for Lesotho, Michelle Tau has yet again raised the national flag high with her outstanding performance at the Egypt Open 2023 and the Presidents Cup in Cairo, Egypt this month.
Inspired by her steadily growing talent and international features, this publication had an exclusive interview with Tau. Below is an excerpt from the interview.
Please share your background with Taekwondo
I guess I should say that Taekwondo is more like a family sport as everyone in my family used to play it. Mostly, my father stuck with it and I don’t know how but somehow I ended up doing the same sport. At first it wasn’t as serious, I was doing it for fun. I seemed to enjoy it, however, as it turned out to be more than just fun. But the whole family has played Taekwondo; from my dad, mom, brother and sister.
For a beauty-with-brains like you, Taekwondo may be an unusual hobby, how do you identify with the sport?
Well, I always say I have two personas. I’m a different person when I am in the ring and when I am on stage. I don’t know how to explain it but I love how they are so different but fit perfectly with me. It’s a kind of a mystery, sometimes I think maybe it makes me feel closer to my father as he died when I was young and I have no memory of him. But I was always told how great he was in Taekwondo and maybe I took it from him.
You have quite a number of milestones since your venture in this sport, may you highlight some of your memorable achievements?
I think my most memorable one will always have to be back in 2019, African Games in Morocco. I had little support back then and my mom and family were my biggest supporters… I don’t think many people thought I would be able to do it but I was so determined that I did it and I was the only athlete from Lesotho out of all sports that were sent there. It was not easy for me and I didn’t believe it but that very moment motivated me and showed me that everything is possible with God and that I am good enough and I can do it. That I just need to believe, do the work and push harder. To this day I am still moved and motivated by that moment.
According to Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC), Tau won a silver medal from competing at the Presidents Cup on Saturday the 18th February 2023 in Cairo, Egypt. This followed the Gold Medal she won in the 7th Egypt Open that ran from February 11-15. Both competitions were ranked at G1 and G2 World Taekwondo Standards and will contribute to her world rankings. She is currently competing in the women`s under 46kg category whereas in the Olympic Games she will be competing in the women`s under 49kg category if she qualifies.
She reportedly obtained a 2-0 score against a Moroccan opponent in the first match, a 2-1 against an Egyptian opponent, and 2-0 against a French opponent in her second and third matches respectively in her games in the Egypt Open 2023 tournament, which secured her a gold medal.
Commonwealth Sport has also noted on its website that Tau represented Lesotho when she became a Batonbearer. She took up taekwondo at a young age, inspired by her father, also a practitioner, who unfortunately passed away when she was very young. “Through training and competing Michelle has always felt connected to him and this has driven her to perform at her best. In recent years, Michelle has earned multiple medals, including silver from the 2019 All Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco, and silver at 2020 European Club Championships. As well as being a taekwondo champion, Michelle is also a champion for women’s rights and makes it her mission that every girl or woman has the opportunity to learn how to defend themselves against gender-based violence. Michelle said she feels moved by having a role in bringing together communities from all 72 nations and territories in one collaborative journey.”