Lechaba’s star keeps rising in the ring
Teen karateka surpasses expectations
At 13, Masechaba Lechaba has achieved more than what some battle-scarred athletes can only dream of.
The karateka from Diepkloof, Soweto, has established herself as a dominant force in the martial arts.
Discovered by coach Thabo Molubi eight years ago, the two have forged a powerful partnership that has racked up countless titles across the regional, provincial and national levels.
Their fighting style is called shito-ryu, which originates from some of the Japanese’s indigenous fighting methods.
In fact, Lechaba, a Grade 8 pupil, is the first female from Soweto to be awarded national colours, according to Molubi.
She has been drafted into Team SA to the Zone 6 regional championships that runs in Botswana next weekend but Lechaba will first slug it out in the Arnold Classic Championships in Sandton, Johannesburg, from today until Sunday.
Molubi, 37, runs a karate club in Diepkloof and this is how he was able to attract talent and groom the likes of Lechaba into a potential superstar.
“She started with me when she was five,” recalled Molubi, who holds a black belt, which represents a high ranking in the martial arts.
“That’s how the journey started and we never looked back since she competed in her first tournament, a world championships in Durban in 2013. She came second. She has entered many other major events in the region, provincial and national competitions.”
Molubi cited lack of sponsorship as the only downside, although he credited a few individuals who have kept their club going, mainly donors such as local business people in Diepkloof.
“A company called Resultant Finance, which is based in Midrand, has come on board to sponsor Masechaba just in time for her trip to Botswana,” said Molubi.
Now ranked as an elite athlete, Lechaba has been contesting the nationals for the past three years and she has lost count of her medal collection.
She and Molubi are geared up for the Arnold Classic where they will face off against other elite athletes from SA.
Coach Thabo Molubi and Masechaba Lechaba, 13, the first female in Soweto to be awarded SA colours in karate, are a formidable partnership.