The Botswana Taekwondo Federation (BTF) has enlisted the services of Grand Master, Hyo Joo Lee from South Korea to develop the sport in the country.
Kukkiwon, the headquarters of World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and the Korean government deployed Lee to Botswana.
Lee was unveiled this week at a press conference at the National Stadium. BTF president, Vinay Naicker told journalists in Gaborone this week during a brief ceremony to introduce the Korean that Lee would be in Botswana for a maximum period of five years.
He said his main role would be to develop Taekwondo together with the identification of an individual that will be trained to be a Master. He said the objective of BTF is to make taekwondo accessible to everybody by providing exposure and training in many areas.
Naicker said Taekwondo is a relatively new sport in the country, but with the drive and passion of the executive committee in partnership with the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC), the sport has taken steps to open many doors for many Batswana.
He said Botswana was selected to have a Grand Master out of 30 countries that had applied for assistance from the WTF.
“We started a team without skills in 2014, but after one and half years later we can boast (of) being one of the best teams in the southern region. Having competed in Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa in regional competitions, we are developing and identifying competitors that can compete on a global platform,” said Naicker.
He said Lee has trained students for the Olympics as well as for the World Championships.
The veteran has coached athletes who have obtained 157 medals during international competitions. Naicker said teams that have been under the instructor have won silver medal at Athens, bronze medal at Sydney Olympics among others.
The BTF president said Lee’s 15-year development programme was a success in Turkey.
“In 2012 he had ensured four weight categories had qualified to compete in the Olympic games. We are positive that the national team will add to these achievements,” Naicker said.
He said the federation has set up an action plan where more students and individuals are exposed to new skills. BTF has training camps in Oodi, Modipane, Mogoditshane, Gaborone and Tlokweng.
Lee kicks off his assignment tomorrow during the 2015 First Cadet Taekwondo Championship that will be held at Broadhurst primary school. BNSC chairperson, Solly Reikeletseng said they expect Taekwondo to be one of the sporting codes to bring medals from international competitions in 2028.
He said the intention is for the code to tap on to the available resources both locally and internationally. Reikeletseng advised the BTF committee to stay away from politics that might derail the federation.