Ath­letes leave for SA cham­pi­onships

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

NINE­TEEN ath­letes leave the coun­try to­day for the South African Open Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships sched­uled for Potchef­stroom from 8-9 May.

The ath­letes would use the two­day track-and-fields event to se­cure qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the All-africa Games to be held in Braz­zav­ille, Congo later this year, ac­cord­ing to Le­sotho Am­a­teur Ath­let­ics As­so­ci­a­tion (LAAA) public re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Se­jana­mane Maphathe.

“We are giv­ing our young ath­letes a chance to qual­ify for the All-africa Games and other com­pe­ti­tions and this is why we are tak­ing a larger group to the Potchef­stroom cham­pi­onships,” Maphathe said.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion has been fac­ing fi­nan­cial chal­lenges and only took two ath­letes to Mau­ri­tius for the re­cent African Ju­nior Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships, but we have a big­ger pool this time around since the com­pe­ti­tion is hap­pen­ing in a neigh­bour­ing coun­try.”

Maphathe fur­ther said LAAA of­fi­cials were now rac­ing against time to make sure the re­quired num­ber of ath­letes are as­sem­bled for the Braz­zav­ille games. The 11th All Africa Games are sched­uled for 4–19 Septem­ber 2015 in the Repub­lic of the Congo.

“It’s al­ways im­por­tant to have a big team at ma­jor com­pe­ti­tions such as the All-africa Games; it im­proves the qual­ity of ath­letes and also their devel­op­ment,” said Maphathe.

“If ev­ery­thing goes ac­cord­ing to plan, the group will leave the coun­try on Thurs­day as the com­pe­ti­tion gets un­der­way on Fri­day and ends on Satur­day. We hope the ath­letes will have enough time to rest if we ar­rive in Potchef­stroom a day be­fore the event.”

Maphathe high­lighted the tour­ing party com­prises ath­letes with­out any in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure, which he said was in line with the LAAA’S devel­op­ment ob­jec­tives.

“The ath­letes we are tak­ing to South Africa have been iden­ti­fied dur­ing dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tions and show a lot of prom­ise. They have no in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure, but we hope by the time they leave Potchef­stroom, they would learn a lot about ath­let­ics at that level.”

Mean­while, Maphathe also told the Le­sotho Times that Sekeke Lesole, Ramolefi Mot­sieloa that marathon queen, ‘Mamoroallo Tjoka, would be called for a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing on 25, 26 and 28 May.

Tjoka and Lesole tested pos­i­tive for banned per­for­mance-en­hanc­ing drugs at last De­cem­ber’s High Altitude Sum­mer Marathon in Mokhot­long, while Mot­sieloa also failed a dope-test at the 2014 edi­tion of the Soweto Marathon in South Africa.

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