THE three taekwondo athletes who competed in the African qualifiers in Rabat, Morocco on 22 and 23 February 2020 have failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The Olympics start in July and end in August this year and Marumo Moloisane, Michelle Tau, and Rethabile Tjotjo had gone to Morocco hoping to qualify for the prestigious games.
However, they all lost their preliminary fights in their respective categories.
The trio also travelled with Nkuebe Ramosoeu who failed to participate due to registration challenges, the Lesotho Taekwondo Association (LTA) has said.
The four athletes also represented Lesotho at the 2019 African Games in Rabat where Tau brought home a silver medal.
LTA public relations officer Sek’hok’he Molikoe said this was the only opportunity for the athletes to qualify.
“This was the only tournament for our athletes to qualify,” Molikoe said.
“Compared to other years, this time around our athletes had adequate time to prepare for the qualifiers but unfortunately, they failed to qualify.
“This time we had athletes based in Germany and our mother bodies have been supporting us and if we continue to get such support, I think it will be easier to qualify next time.”
Molikoe also believes that due to the athlete’s young ages, they still have a lot of time to improve themselves.
“The athletes must remain focused because the experience that they now have, irrespective of their failure to qualify, will help them in future.”
As part of the athletes’ preparations for the qualifiers, Moloisane and Tau had been based in Germany at the Taekwondo Competence Centre (TCC).
Moloisane is in Germany through the 2020 Olympic Solidarity Scholarship for athletes while Tau is self-sponsored.
Ramosoeu is under the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) High-Performance programme while Tjotjo is under Podium Performance Programme (PPP) under the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC).
None of the athletes has ever competed at the Olympics.
Lesotho was last represented in taekwondo at the Olympics in the 2004 Athens edition. Lineo Mochesane participated in the games.