Marumo bares all

Marumo bares all

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

Taekwondo specialist Moloisane Marumo was the only Lesotho fighter to win a medal at the African Taekwondo Union Olympic qualifying tournament that was held in Morocco in February.

Marumo collected bronze in the -58 kilograms section and although it was not enough to see him qualify for Rio 2016, he still has an outside chance of a wildcard entry because he is ranked in the top 80 in his weight class by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).

Marumo also represented Lesotho at last year’s All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville but disappointingly bowed out of the competition in the first round.

In this interview Marumo tells thepost that taekwondo was not his first choice. He also reveals why he performed badly in Congo and talks about his chances of qualifying for the Olympic Games.

thepost: What made you choose taekwondo instead other sports such as football or athletics?

Moloisane Marumo: Taekwondo was never my choice at all; my parents chose it for me. I started playing at an early age in Khubetsoana. My father was a taekwondo coach so he literally took me in and that’s how I joined taekwondo. I used to play volleyball but it’s really not my thing, I love taekwondo now.

Looking back at your performance and your journey, would you say you are at your best level now?

No, not really. I am still far from where I want to be as far as taekwondo is concerned. I have never competed in the Olympics. I want to compete in the Olympics and win a medal. But, I think I am improving. When I look at where I was and where I am now, there is a lot of improvement.

Talking about the Olympics, you recently won a bronze medal in Morocco. Although it was not enough to book you a spot at Rio 2016, you still have an outside chance because of your WTF Olympic ranking.

Yes, what happened in Morocco is that to qualify I needed to win gold or silver but I won bronze. I still have a chance to qualify because what actually happens in taekwondo is they take the top two in each weight category then they look at those who came close to qualifying and, if there is still a space, then they take you. I am hoping I will go to the Olympics. There is still chance.

And, all this comes after the All Africa Games disappointment of last year where Lesotho managed to collect only two medals and none of them from taekwondo…

Yes, at the All Africa Games, it was my first time competing in the -58kg. Although it is my weight class, I think those people (opponents) were more prepared than us.

But why such a bad performance? Didn’t the team have enough time to practice?

We had time to practice because I think we were in camp for three weeks before we left. Even in Congo Brazzaville, taekwondo was the last event to be staged so we had time to train in Congo Brazzaville. My body at that time was not in shape for that category. Right now I am in better shape than I was in Congo Brazzaville.

How did you plan to make up for the disappointment of the All Africa Games?

I had planned to make up for the Congo Brazzaville disappointment by qualifying for the Olympics. After the All Africa Games we trained hard before we went to Morocco.

How is national coach Du Kwhi Lee helping you?

He is helping me a lot. He is a very good coach with skills. He shouts at us a lot during training and you may lose it if you are not used to him, but we have got to know him better so we understand. Outside training he is very friendly and gives us advice all the time. Even when I am training alone at home, I do things according to his instructions. He is a good coach.

What now? What are your plans moving forward?

It’s basically all about working hard and making sure I qualify for big tournaments and winning medals, and making the country proud.

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