TOP long-distance runner, Motlokoa Nkhabutlane, says he is “extremely excited” after winning his maiden Two Oceans Marathon last Saturday in Cape Town.
Nkhabutlane, who pocked M250 000 after the win, told the Lesotho Times that he was not a happy man when he left for the South african race after being denied the M1000 allowance which his 10 fellow runners had been given by the sports ministry. Nkhabutlane said he still does not understand why his name was not on the list of athletes set to benefit from the funding.
“First of all, I did not even want to run the Two Oceans Marathon this year. I had been preparing for a marathon in South Korea, but all the african athletes were turned away from the competition because of the Ebola virus, which has been such a problem on the continent, particularly in West Africa,” Nkhabutlane said.
“After the South Korea trip had failed, I decided to go for the Two Oceans, but before we left for the race, my colleagues were given M1000, but I was denied the money because my name was not on the list, and no-one could explain why.”
However, the 29-year-old runner said he was “excited” that he had defied the odds and won the race.
“God has his own ways of doing things and I’m grateful to Him for winning the race,” said Nkhabutlane.
“I’m also very proud of myself because I defied the odds to win this race after two unsuccessful attempts in the past, in which I finished second and fifth.”
Nkhabutlane, who finished second in last year’s Soweto Marathon also in South Africa, added he hoped local athletes could be treated better.
“It hurts the way we are always mistreated and I hope things will change and we will get more support from those in charge of sport in this country,” said Nkhabutlane.
“I really do not understand why I was not given the money like the other athletes who took part in the competition.”
Contacted to shed light on the issue, the ministry’s Senior Information Officer, Thethiwe Makara, said: “His name was omitted by mistake and that has since been corrected and he will get his money.
“all this happened because he registered very late for the competition, but I can also tell you that our new minister (Mathibeli Mokhothu) is going to host a gala-dinner for all these athletes as a thank you for flying our flag high at the race.”