LESOTHO’S taekwondo athletes have been outstanding since the beginning of their competitions in the ongoing African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games in Maseru.
The games officially started last Friday and are expected to end this Sunday.
As of yesterday, Lesotho had collected four gold and five silver medals in different weight categories.
Taekwondo competitions started on Monday at the Lesotho High School Hall. Lesotho got off to a flying start with all three athletes who were in action reaching the finals.
The trio of Liteboho Motsohi (46kg) and two males Mpho Mofammere (45kg) and Karabo Thokoa (59kg) won their final matches to win gold medals in their respective weight classes.
Day two of the competitions saw Lesotho dominating the semi-finals with all the competing athletes advancing to the finals.
However, only Chao Rantšeli won a medal on the day bagging a gold medal in the men’s 68kg competitions, while Nthatisi Molelekoa (49kg), Refiloe Khoete (49kg), Liposo Ranoka (48kg), Lipuo Molise (59kg) and Lerato Maphathe (51kg) all took home silver medals in their respective categories.
Coach, Puseletso Lekanyane said his team surprised him given their poor preparations.
Due to Covid-19 and some athletes’ school commitments, the coach never had adequate time to prepare.
“I wasn’t expecting such great performances since our preparations were poor because of Covid-19 while the athletes also had school commitments,” Lekanyane said.
“When we first selected the team early this year, the preparations were interrupted as the country was forced into strict lockdowns where sporting activities were suspended on account of Covid-19. Even after the ban on sporting activities was lifted, we had half a day with the athletes because of school commitments.”
The athletes who fought on the second day were victims of the success of their peers. They could have won gold medals had they not put themselves under pressure to perform well.
“On day two we still had the potential to win all our finals matches but because of the previous day’s performance, some athletes put themselves under pressure to win at all costs and it back fired.
“However, reaching the finals was a huge achievement and I am happy for the athletes,” Lekanyane said.