LTA mulls cutting international events
Maseru – The Lesotho Taekwondo Association (LTA) is mulling minimising its participation in international events due to a lack of funding.
LTA secretary general Teboho Masimong says the association is not removing itself completely from international tournaments but will be prioritising its efforts going forward.
He said the body will alert international stakeholders such as the governing International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) of its final decision.
LTA gets its funding from the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC).
Masimong said minimising international appearances will help the LTA better channel resources to the development of taekwondo in Lesotho.
Masimong’s revelation comes with Lesotho taekwondo fresh off elections held on Sunday.
The vote resulted in a new executive committee and saw Moshoeshoe Molapo make way as LTA president to Moorosana Nkesi.
Masimong said a mandate is yet to be decided for the new committee because it is yet to meet with the association’s members.
“We don’t have a mandate yet as we are still assessing our position,” Masimong said.
“We will go back to our members and hold a symposium to find out what is it that they want and only then we will be able to map our way.”
He added: “One thing that we want to do is to minimise our international participation (and) attend events that we really have to. We want to participate in at least one international tournament, one regional tournament and one sub-regional tournament per year.”
Masimong admitted reducing international appearances may have a negative impact on the sport locally.
However, he said the LTA will assure international bodies it remains committed to growing taekwondo in Lesotho.
“We will also look for sponsorship,” Masimong added. “We are mainly focused on developmental tournaments and the training of coaches as well as referees.”
Lesotho is still looking for ways to restore its past glories in the sport. In 1998, the country’s women were crowned continental champions when they won the African Taekwondo Championships in Kenya.
The women’s team continued its dominant form at the 1999 All Africa Games in South Africa claiming four gold medals.
Their success contributed to Lesotho’s haul of six gold medals which is still the country’s best haul at the African Games.
In 2001, Masechocha Thamae won gold at the Military World Championship in the Netherlands while in 2003 Lineo Mochesane won the fin-weight crown at the All Africa Games.
Lesotho’s national taekwondo team is under the mentorship of South Korean born coach Du-Khwi Lee who was tasked with reviving the sport when he arrived in the country in 2015.
Lee, who is the national coach for the cadets, junior and senior teams, is expected to remain in the role until 2025.
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