By: Mpho Shelile

Lesotho Taekwondo Association (LTA) with the support of Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) is set to host an exciting taekwondo tournament on the 25th May 2024, showcasing the country’s growing prominence in the sport.

This event is part of Lesotho’s broader efforts to develop and promote taekwondo, which has seen significant achievements in recent years.

The tournament will take place at the Lehakoe Recreational Center in Maseru, bringing together taekwondo practitioners from four countries.

Competitors will include both seasoned athletes and emerging talents, representing various countries within the COSAFA region. This event aims to foster camaraderie and sportsmanship among neighboring nations while providing a platform for athletes to showcase their skills.

The partnership between the LTA and COSAFA highlights a strategic effort to diversify and elevate sports within Southern Africa.

While COSAFA is traditionally associated with football, its support for this taekwondo tournament underscores a broader commitment to sports development.

This collaboration is expected to enhance the visibility of taekwondo and inspire more young people to take up the martial art dance genre.

In his address, Boshipha Mapesela highlights the hiatus in hosting taekwondo tournaments in Lesotho, stating, “We faced several challenges from the directors, prompting us to halt the tournaments temporarily. This pause allowed us to focus on rebuilding and strengthening the foundation of taekwondo in our nation,” Mapesela explains.

He emphasizes the significance of the upcoming tournament as a catalyst for economic enhancement in Lesotho. “With Botswana, Swaziland, and South Africa confirming their participation, this event promises to be a substantial boost to our local economy,” he adds.

The Technical Director of LTA, Napo Moshoeshoesays the upcoming tournament is exclusively for senior players. Eligibility is set for individuals 17 years of age and older.

The competition will be organized into two distinct categories: male and female. Each squad will consist of four primary players plus one substitute.

Furthermore, Moshoeshoe has announced a special segment for our younger athletes.

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

Sargent Thakamphaki Ntsihlele the coach of the teams that will be partaking the game stated that LTA has been working diligently to ensure that all preparations are in place.

This includes securing top-notch facilities, organizing training camp for athletes, and coordinating with international taekwondo bodies to ensure the highest standards of competition.

Safety protocol and measures have also been prioritized to ensure a safe environment for all participants and spectators.