Lesotho: Chess Starlet Lands Scholarship

14 September 2021

Canada's Ontario Federation of Teachers will for the next two years pay school fees for chess starlet, Bokang Motsamai.

This after the Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) requested a scholarship for the 16-year-old from the Canadian organisation.

Currently in Form D at Leqele High School, Motsamai was struggling to pay school fees.

Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) deputy secretary, Khiba Selatela, said the player received the sponsorship after they approached the LTA requesting assistance.

"We approached LTA for the sponsorship and we are pleased that he has secured the assistance," Selatela said.

"We identified him as one of the less privileged learners who play chess. He is smart and talented. Therefore, we did not want such qualities to go to waste."

Now that the player has been relieved of the stress of finding tuition fees, he can now concentrate on his education while maintaining his commendable chess form.

Selatela is also confident that the sponsorship will attract more young players to the sport.

Despite his young age, Motsamai has been exceptional in different tournaments and has even made it into the national team.

In July, he won the Kings Birthday Tournament before winning the National Youth Championship last month.

Motsamai has also qualified for the Zone 4.5 Individuals Chess Championship. The event was meant to be held in November this year but has now been postponed to next March.

He is also one of the young players representing Lesotho in the ongoing FIDE World Youth Online Chess Championship. Apart from that, he was in the national team which competed in the 2021 FIDE online Olympiad last month.

On his part, Motsamai's brother and coach, Thoko Motsamai, said the scholarship is a huge boost for his younger brother.

"We really appreciate the funding because we are experiencing hard times when it comes to his school needs.

"He is disciplined and hardworking but had been lacking school materials and fees. Now we expect him to excel. I am confident that he is going to shine because he will have all the tools that he needs for his studies.

"The sponsorship will also boost his confidence. In the past he has failed to perform well because he was also thinking about school fees. When he confided in me about that, it broke my heart.

"However, now that he has received this assistance, he can focus on his education and can also play chess without destruction," Thoko said.

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