Lesotho Ace chess athlete, Tokelo Klass, scooped the first position in the Maseru Open Championship which was staged at Scenery Guest house in Maseru last weekend.
In an interview with Newsday Sports, the Lesotho number one rated starlet on Wednesday stated that although the attendance was poor, he is glad to have come on the top side of the competitive showpiece.
Klass revealed that he used the tourney as practice to prepare him for next year’s Zone 4.5 tournament to be staged in the country in February, as well as the Chess Olympiad to be staged in Russia in August.
The candidate Master, currently ranks 162 in the continent and 1862 worldwide.
“It was a tough competition and even though the attendance was poor, it was a very competitive tournament,” he said.
“I am glad that I managed to come on the top side of the tournament. I spent a lot of time prepping for this showpiece because I want to be on the list that travels to Russia next year,” he said.
“I also want to be part of the team to represent Lesotho in the upcoming Zone 4.5 games to be held in the country. This games prepare me for the big two tournaments,” he said.
The Lesotho Federation of Chess spokesperson, Khiba Selatela, lamented that the first episode of the tournament was not pleasing, as they are going to hold a series of tournaments to select a team to represent Lesotho in the upcoming international games.
“The attendance was not good at all especially when we are only at the beginning of the preparations; we have decided to hold a series of tournaments,” he said.
“Best top five performers stand a chance to be selected and represent the country at the two international games,” Selatela said.
“We have planned to hold about four or five tournaments for the selection criteria, the current winners are at the advantageous side to be selected should they keep up the momentum,” he said.
The Confederation of School Sport Association in Southern Africa (Cossasa) ball games initially scheduled for September 1-6 2019 in Zambia have been cancelled following in-country conflicts.
The cancellation was confirmed by the Lesotho Institutions Sports Association (Lisa) Public Relations Officer, Teboho Pholo
Pholo said that Zambia’s withdrawal from hosting the games was due to internal matters.
South Africa is said to have shown interest in taking over the games, after Zambia pulled out. However, due to the limited time left; Cossasa decided that the games will not happen this year.
Pholo confirmed that, having hosted the games in 2017, Lesotho did not try to contest for the hosting rights thereafter, due to the fact that it (Lesotho) is currently facing financial challenges.
Lesotho’s next turn will be in 2021. According to him, the 2020 host country will be Botswana.
The initial plan for Lesotho had been to use the games to prepare for the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games, coming to Lesotho in 2020. Pholo admitted that this has been a huge blow for the country.
The blow comes after Lisa held their 2019 national ball games final, this past weekend at Lesotho High School, where the national team was selected for Cossasa games
Last week, the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) Public Relations Officer (PRO) Teboho Rakhomo stated that due to financial challenges, the commission is not able to go further across the country, into the districts to scout and groom talent for the 2020 games. Thus they relied on Lisa games for the overall realization of talent.
Lisa finals saw Thuto Ke Leseli High School crowned men soccer champions with Phuthiatsana High School securing second position. In the ladies’ section, Thetsane High School are the champions as they left position two to ‘Makhethisa High School.
Mopholosi High School boys secured first podium stand in the netball competitions, with Eagle’s High School as runners-up. In ladies’ netball, Leqele High School ran riot to dominate the tournament and topped the campaign. Johnson Baker High School finished second.
Lithabaneng High School won volleyball men and women, leaving position two for St. James High School and Thaba- Tseka High School in men and ladies races respectively.
Apart from winning the ladies’ netball, Leqele High School also won the ladies’ basketball while the male category championship title was snatched by Masitise High School.
Masitise High School also took home the men’s handball champions trophy. John Mount High School ladies were crowned handball champions.