Lesotho retains dancesport title

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MASERU — Pulumo Nchakha and his dance partner Kholu Liphoto proved to have magic shoes when they won the Queen’s Birthday DanceSport Championship on Saturday night at Lehakoe Sport Arena.

Nchakha and Liphoto wowed spectators and adjudicators each time they made their way to the dance floor.

The couple beat fierce competition from their Basotho counterparts as well as couples from Swaziland.

“This is a surprise,” Nchakha said.

“I am very happy. I didn’t see this coming, I had doubts of making it because I was dancing with a new partner whom I only paired eight months back,” he said.

Having won the competition four times since its inception in 2004, Nchakha said: “I now feel very confident to participate at the World Dance Championships.”

“We are looking forward to participating at the Swaziland dance competition in September and the Southern African DanceSport Federation Championships in Botswana in October,” he added.

Nchakha told the Weekender he finds his new partner very strong and determined to reach greater heights.

“After only eight months of training Kholu has proved to have the vision of making it big. She is a determined and strong young woman and I believe we have a long journey ahead of us.”

Nchakha said they had established a dance movement aimed at teaching dance to young children.

“We have decided to educate young children so that their love and dedication for dance can start at a tender age,” he said.

Liphoto added: “Pulumo is a hard worker and working with him has helped me reach a greater notch in dance.

“I believe the journey ahead of us is long and with dedication and hard work we will reach the sky.”

Lesotho dominated the first three positions of the top six places of the Grand Prix section with Swaziland taking the fourth and fifth place.

Only Swaziland has performed consistently at the Queen’s Birthday DanceSport Championship since the championship began in 2008.

South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana failed to arrive despite confirming their availability.

“The other countries’ (failed to turn up). But we thank Swaziland for showing vast support to the competition,” Lesotho Dancesport Association (Ledasa) president Mopeli Nthejane told the Weekender.

He said this year local support grew drastically from participation, sponsorship and spectators.

“This year’s competition proved more successful than previous years.

“We managed to collect approximately M17 000 on gate takings alone and we are very grateful to all Basotho who supported us,” Nthejane said.

“The adjudicators said the competition has now reached international standards and we are now in a position to host international contests.”

Mangaliso Simelane, a representative from Swaziland’s Ministry of Sport, told the Weekender the Queen’s Birthday DanceSport Championship is one of the biggest dance competitions in the Southern African Developing Community region.

“Looking at the organisation and local participation, this competition has grown and it encourages us as Sadc countries to pull up our socks.”

He however said its growth might be crippled by failure by other Sadc countries to participate.

“We hope that all the Sadc countries find it important to participate in the competition to learn and exchange skills.

“If all the other invited countries had made it, maybe the competition would have been tough and the title could have been taken by another country,” Simelane said.

Among the guests that watched couples battling it out on the dance floor was the Government Secretary, Tlohang Sekhamane, and Chief Seitebaso Seeiso on behalf of Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso, who is the patron of Ledesa.

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