Big send-off for Suntele

Big send-off for Suntele

MASERU – It was a sombre Saturday this past weekend as family, friends, the Lesotho Boxing Association (LEBA) and Sea Point community at large paid their final respects to Lesotho Olympic boxer Inkululeko Suntele.
Suntele’s death on Friday, October 27 sent shock waves through the local sport fraternity and his family and LEBA are still searching for answers as to why the promising boxer was brutally killed in a senseless stabbing incident.
The mood has been dull at LEBA since the sad news was delivered.

Members of the association had said they will only believe Suntele is dead when they saw his casket being lowered into his grave.
It is a harsh reality they finally accepted on Saturday afternoon.
The young promising Olympian is no more.
Suntele was born on April 30, 1994.
It is said that on the day of his death Suntele left his home in Sea Point in the company of friends to go to town when he was stabbed following an altercation.

Purportedly, it was not the first time he was stabbed.
The suspect handed himself to the police last weekend where he is being held in custody awaiting his murder trial.
At the funeral, Suntele’s siblings and family put on a brave face to give their son a hero’s send-off, but they were visibly hurt.
At the graveyard, the community sang, danced and even staged mock boxing bouts to pay their respects to Suntele before his casket was lowered and the boxer was laid to rest for the final time.

Suntele was described as a loving person whose priority was to put Lesotho on the world map.
Suntele’s journey in sports started at a tender age – his first love was, in fact, football and while doing Standard Seven at Hoohlo Primary School he finished as his school’s top goalscorer.

However, boxing soon became his driving passion.
He gradually put football aside and focused on honing his talents as a fighter.
In 2009, Suntele joined Best Boxers Boxing Club but he didn’t stay for long and left the following year to join Ea Rona Boxing Club. He stayed at Ea Rona until 2012 when he joined Lerotholi Polytechnic.
Suntele has been a rare pugilist talent for a long time.

In 2008, at the age of 14, Suntele made his first international appearance when he competed at a regional junior boxing championship in Botswana. He promptly won a gold medal for the country.
In 2014, he formed part of Team Lesotho at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland but was knocked out in the first round. In 2016, he reached his greatest milestone by qualifying for the Rio Olympics in Brazil after winning a silver medal at the AIBA African Olympic Qualification Event held in Cameroon. With his star firmly on the rise, Suntele was chosen as Lesotho’s flag bearer at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio.

‘Matsipane’, as Suntele was affectionately known, was under an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship together with Rio boxing teammate Moroke Mokhotho for next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Luciah Phahla

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