By: Sekonyela Qaitsane

Maseru – Lesotho will host the Taekwondo regional tournament wherein 3 region countries; Botswana, Eswatini and South Africa have confirmed to participate.

The tournament named Team Cup Champions is scheduled for this coming Saturday and is hosted by the Lesotho Taekwondo Interim committee.

Speaking to Informative Newspaper, the interim committee Technical director Moshoeshoe Molapo states that this event is one of the activities aimed at developing taekwondo as a sport in the country.

He says the association has held this particular event since 2013 to 2016 when the committee was dissolved by the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) and the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC).

In the past the event was sponsored by the South Korean embassy to Lesotho hence it was called; Korean Ambassador’s Cup. After the committee was re-established by the two mother bodies recently, the new event sponsor is Trend Group.

There will be three categories in this event with the Team Cup Champions being the main event.

It will be followed by the seniors (of 17 age group) and the juniors (12 to 15 age group). 

In the main event, they will use the format of groups made up four men or women infield, with an extra player being a substitute in the case of casualties, making it a total of five players.

There will be also mixed gender groups wherein gender will be balanced in each of the participating groups. In the junior category the team caters for will be one on one knockout format and no more team participation.

Team Lesotho has been dominating in these tournaments throughout the years, recording defeat on only one occasion. As an indication of success, Molapo says they have produced players that are now national team coaches while one of them, Thainyane Lithakong has studied masters degree in Korea and was later roped in as a top coach in the same country upon completing his studies.

He is of the idea that the future is bright for the Taekwondo Sport in the country.

He refers to Michelle Tau as a living example of what Lesotho is capable of in Taekwondo sport.

Tau regularly competes in world taekwondo tournaments, taking home medals at the 2019 and 23 African Games and the 2021 and the 2023 African Taekwondo Championships.

She was a batonbearer for the 2022 Commonwealth games Queen’s Baton Relay. After failing to qualify in 2020, she will represent Lesotho at the 2024 Summer Olympics in the Women’s taekwondo – 49kg category.

As of February this year, Tau was ranked as the number one senior female taekwondo athlete in Africa and fifth globally