MASERU — Despite football getting most attention, taekwondo has long been Lesotho’s most successful sport.
Unfortunately the sport has gone through a bit of a lull in recent years — and the let-up is set to continue.
Lesotho’s taekwondo national side will have to kick their heels for a few more months after it was confirmed this week that they would miss the ninth All Africa Taekwondo Games.
The games were originally due to be hosted by Tunisia. But the North Africans withdrew as hosts last month because as it is the tourist season and prices in that country would be high.
However, Cameroon have come in as replacement hosts for the tournament which will be held next week.
But Lesotho won’t take part.
“We thought the championships had been postponed so we stopped our preparations,” Moshoeshoe Mokake, public relations officer of the Lesotho Taekwondo Federation (LTF), said this week.
“We got the message late from Cameroon. It’s not just about preparing the team — it is about the logistics and financial arrangements that have to be made. It is too close.”
Mokake added: “We don’t work on assumptions. We couldn’t assume that another country would come in and take over the hosting of the event.
“For the Tunisia trip we had been preparing for six months.
“It is not easy because we have to request funding and we have to do so knowing the event will happen for sure.”
The LTF will now have to focus on the World Championships to be held in October in Denmark.
After missing the last edition two years ago Lesotho may face a ban if they don’t participate this time round.
“If you fail to attend a certain number of events you could be expelled from future tournaments,” Mokake said.
“We have to start work and prepare our team. I’m not sure what camps or tournament but we need to begin our preparations.”
Mokake denied the sport was falling away in the country.
“I can argue with anyone who says that taekwondo has regressed in the country,” he said.
“It’s more the case that we have stood still while other countries have progressed.
“The pace that we are working at hasn’t been the same as other nations.”
“Relatively our performance has been good,” he added.
“At the 2007 All Africa Games taekwondo was the only discipline that brought home medals, some of which were gold.
“Last year at the COSATA (Confederation of Southern Africa Taekwondo Association) games Lesotho was top in both women’s and men’s categories.
“We just need to have lots of activities — that is coaching and competitions.”