WITH three weeks to go to the 2019 Confederation of Southern African Taekwondo Association (Cosata) championships in eSwatini, no Lesotho teams have so far been assembled to represent the country.
The two-day championship will run on 6 and 7 December 2019 in Mbabane.
According to Lesotho Taekwondo Association (LTA) public relations officer Sek’hok’he Molikoe, the delays are due to financial challenges.
“We are not able to plan anything due to financial challenges but we have already submitted our proposal to the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC),” Molikoe said.
The championships will be played in three divisions namely; cadets, juniors and senior (both females and males).
However, Molikoe says due to the financial challenges, they would prioritise junior teams since the confederation is staging the championship as a test event for the African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 2020 Games.
“We also wanted to give the senior players a chance to go and compete in the championships since they are also preparing for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers early next year,” Molikoe added.
On the other hand, Cosata president Moshoeshoe Molapo told the Sunday Express that eSwatini had planned to host Open Championships but they instead resolved have the country host the Cosata Championships as a test event for the AUSC Region 2020 Games.
“We are working hard to ensure maximum participation by all 10-member national associations including Lesotho.
“It is not clear how many countries will be there and at this moment, I cannot confirm whether or not Lesotho will attend.
“It is critical for Lesotho to participate in the championships because all the efforts are being made in preparation for the Maseru 2020 Youth Games. It would be unusual for them to fail to attend,” Molapo said.
Molapo encouraged the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation to ensure that local athletes participate in the tournament.
Cosata also held an intensive referees’ seminar in Rustenburg, South Africa last month as part of the preparations for the Maseru 2020 Youth Games.
“After the eSwatini championships, we will also host a referees’ refresher course earmarked in March 2020,” Molapo said.