Run­ners in for huge test in Mokhot­long

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

it is that time of the year again when all roads lead to Mokhot­long for the an­nual High Al­ti­tude Sum­mer Marathon.

This com­pe­ti­tion has grown from strength to strength and is now one of the big­gest races in south­ern Africa, at­tract­ing top ath­letes from as far afield as east Africa.

This is all be­cause of the M100 000 first prize that makes the race as big as South Africa’s Soweto Marathon which also at­tracts top ath­letes from across the African con­ti­nent.

Yet as far as lo­cals are con­cerned, it is a bit wor­ry­ing that our top ath­letes will not be run­ning in Mokhot­long on 6 De­cem­ber, in­clud­ing last year’s win­ner in the male cat­e­gory, Mabuthile Le­bopo.

There is no doubt that Le­bopo’s ex­pe­ri­ence would have been vi­tal in the race, not only for him but also many of our young ath­letes who draw in­spi­ra­tion from the veteran run­ner.

It would re­ally be nice if our ath­letes dom­i­nate and win top hon­ours in Mokhot­long, as they would be run­ning be­fore their own sup­port­ers.

Like he has said in his re­cent in­ter­views, Le­bopo be­lieves his ex­pe­ri­ence was key when he claimed the race last year ahead of ethiopi­ans, who are al­ways a threat as far as marathons are con­cerned.

The coun­try’s ‘Marathon Queen’, Mamoroallo Tjoka, could only man­age sec­ond place last year and she has not been at her best in 2014.

It there­fore looks like it’s go­ing to be a rarely quiet year for her with­out a ma­jor ti­tle.

I have to say, I’m re­ally wor­ried that our long-dis­tance run­ners are los­ing their dom­i­nance to east Africans, es­pe­cially those from ethiopia and Kenya.

With Nkhabut­loane Mot­lokoa, who re­cently fin­ished in sec­ond po­si­tion in the Soweto marathon, hav­ing ruled him­self out of Satur­days race in Mokhot­long, it looks like we are go­ing to pin our hopes on young run­ners such as Ramolefi Mot­sieloa, to do us proud.

It is surely go­ing to be a tough af­fair to stop the ethiopi­ans and Kenyans from hog­ging the head­lines in the big­gest race of the Moun­tain King­dom.

Like I have said be­fore, I still feel the Le­sotho Am­a­teur Ath­let­ics As­so­ci­a­tion has a lot of work ahead of them to make sure that we have the next Tjoka as well as Le­bopo, as age is no longer on the two run­ners’ side.

the fact that our top run­ners have missed im­por­tant races this year due to fa­tigue and in­juries, tells it all—that they are fast ap­proach­ing the end of their il­lus­tri­ous ca­reers.

We need young and fresh ath­letes ca­pa­ble of con­tin­u­ing where the likes of Tjoka and Le­bopo would have left, and con­tinue do­ing us proud on the in­ter­na­tional stage, the way it has been over the years.

The fact that Tjoka has won the Soweto Marathon seven times, while in the male cat­e­gory, apart from Le­bopo, we have the likes of Moeketsi Mo­suthli and Tsotang Maine also win­ning the com­pe­ti­tion, means this na­tion is an ath­let­ics pow­er­house, and we would want it con­tinue that way.

Th­ese run­ners and oth­ers I have not men­tioned here, have been great am­bas­sadors of this coun­try and it is time they are ap­pre­ci­ated for what they have done for their home­land.

I also feel be­cause they have been there be­fore and ex­pe­ri­enced how it feels like to win big races, it is only fair that this coun­try can utilise them in the de­vel­op­ment of younger ath­letes.

Good luck to all lo­cal run­ners and hope the ti­tles re­main in the Moun­tain King­dom be­cause it would re­ally be sad should for­eign­ers emerge vic­to­ri­ous from the race—the same way Tjoka could only man­age sec­ond place in 2013 while ethiopia’s Asefa Che­litu Bo­gela took the ladies’ ti­tle home.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.