Riders ready for Euro chal­lenge

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati Moorosi Tsiane

THE Le­sotho Lawn Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion (LLTA) will send a team of seven play­ers to 2015 All-africa Games set for congo-braz­zav­ille in Septem­ber. The team com­prises four boys and three girls, who are the best-ranked in the coun­try. The as­so­ci­a­tion’s pres­i­dent, Kamo­h­elo Hlomisi, is hop­ing in­ten­sive prepa­ra­tions for the tour­na­ment would be­gin next month af­ter Le­sotho play­ers missed a num­ber of con­ti­nen­tal and re­gional com­pe­ti­tions due to lack of funds.

“Un­for­tu­nately, due to lack of funds, our prepa­ra­tions have been a bit slow. How­ever, we are hop­ing things will change for the bet­ter once we get fund­ing from the Le­sotho Sports and Recre­ation com­mis­sion.”

“Our team was sup­posed to have par­tic­i­pated in a com­pe­ti­tion in mozam­bique, but failed to do so due to the same fund­ing prob­lem,” Hlomisi said.

Ac­cord­ing to Hlomisi, de­spite lack of in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure, he was op­ti­mistic the play­ers would hold their own in Braz­zav­ille.

“This is our best team and I’m con­fi­dent they will do the coun­try proud although we would have wanted to see them play­ing a num­ber of com­pe­ti­tions be­fore the ma­jor event. We are hop­ing to take this team for a com­pe­ti­tion in Botswana in July which we feel will be good prepa­ra­tions be­fore they go for the All-africa Games,” said Hlomisi.

Hlomisi said mo­jalefa moth­ibe would coach the team, adding: “At the mo­ment, Ntate moth­ibe is our main coach, but we will be hav­ing a meet­ing soon to dis­cuss other things re­gard­ing the team and its prepa­ra­tions.”

The as­so­ci­a­tion would also stage a tour­na­ment for vet­er­ans next Sun­day “to in­spire and mo­ti­vate the cur­rent crop of play­ers”, Hlomisi fur­ther said.

“The vet­er­ans tour­na­ment will be a way of mo­ti­vat­ing our young play­ers and also in­still the spirit of to­geth­er­ness within our sport. Our vet­er­ans have been there and done it be­fore and it is very im­por­tant for them to keep sup­port­ing and as­sist­ing the young gen­er­a­tion,” said Hlomisi.

Le­sotho All-africa Games teams Males: Alex Le­belo Les­lie mosehle, Paseka mot­samai, Bishop mosebi, Kho­jane el­lisa Khethisa.

Fe­male: mu­zoz Ran­nana, Pu­lane Florence mony­atsi, Nthabiseng Nqosa. Academy of cy­cling ex­cel­lence ( Ace) man­ager, mark West, says there would be no more ex­cuses for fail­ure when the coun­try’s best, riders Te­boho Khan­tši and Phetetso monese, bat­tle-it-out in the Pro­tec­tive BIKE Four Peaks Race sched­uled for 17-21 June in Aus­tria.

The cy­clists, who will be rid­ing un­der the Al­liance In­sur­ance ban­ner, leave the coun­try to­day for Switzer­land, from where they would drive to Ger­many to take part in a warm-up race on Sun­day.

Af­ter the 14 June event, the riders go to Aus­tria for the four-day 270 kilo­me­tre race renowned for its tough ter­rain and at­tract­ing the best moun­tain bik­ers.

Ad­dress­ing a media brief­ing on Mon­day this week in Maseru, West said he was con­fi­dent the riders would do Le­sotho proud in the cen­tral euro­pean coun­try.

“These riders have been com­pet­ing in dif­fer­ent races in South Africa and other parts of the con­ti­nent with a mea­sure of suc­cess and the next step was for them to go to europe.

“I am glad they have now man­aged to get that chance to rep­re­sent not only Le­sotho but the whole con­ti­nent in Aus­tria as they are go­ing to be the only African riders amongst 1000 par­tic­i­pants in the race,” West said.

The for­mer Le­sotho cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary gen­eral fur­ther said there was no doubt this would be a tough duel for the riders con­sid­er­ing the qual­ity of the op­po­si­tion.

“These boys are re­ally good in what they do and have helped the coun­try get ranked sec­ond in Africa, while we are in the top 40 glob­ally, and they are in the top 50 as a team. That only shows how good they are, hence my con­fi­dence that they will bring home good re­sults although it is not go­ing to be easy con­sid­er­ing who they will be com­pet­ing against,” said West.

“I would also want to ex­press my grat­i­tude to the spon­sors be­cause all this wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble with­out them.”

West con­tin­ued: “We are try­ing to make sure that the two riders have ev­ery­thing they might need to ex­cel at the race, but are also aware there might be some chal­lenges that might make them fail to fin­ish the race.”

On his part, Le­sotho Sky events man­ager Kananelo ma­sia, who would be trav­el­ling with the riders to europe, also ex­pressed con­fi­dence in the duo’s abil­ity to re­write history in the race.

“They will be com­pet­ing against pro­fes­sional riders but I am con­fi­dent they will bring home pos­i­tive re­sults. How­ever, they need all our sup­port; they qual­i­fied for this race last year dur­ing the six-day Le­sotho Sky Race,” said ma­sia.

Al­liance Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer, Mo­hapinyane Taole, ap­plauded Sky events (Pty) Ltd for its part in pro­mot­ing cy­cling in the coun­try.

Sky events (Pty) Ltd is an events and ad­ven­ture tourism com­pany based in maseru, and one of its pride is the an­nual Le­sotho Sky moun­tain Bike Stage Race.

“you have proved to us that when you set a tar­get, you work tire­lessly to­wards achiev­ing it. you have now set a tar­get for the ath­letes, which is to win a tro­phy for their coun­try. We are all be­hind these riders and wish them the best,” said Taole.

mean­while, Khan­tši said he was ready for the euro­pean chal­lenge, while monese was equally bullish.

“I have been pre­par­ing for this race for a very long time and I think I am now ready to face the big guns of the cy­cling world,” Khan­tši said.

monese on the other hand, said while the race would not be a walk in the park, he was con­fi­dent they would leave an in­deli­ble mark on the com­pe­ti­tion.

“We will be mak­ing our de­but at Four Peaks this year so it is ob­vi­ous there will be chal­lenges along the way. How­ever, I must boldly say we are pre­pared and the aim is to do well in the race and not just be part of the com­pe­ti­tion,” monese said.

Te­boho Khan­tši (left) Le­sotho Sky events Man­ager Kananelo Ma­sia (cen­tre) and Phetetso Monese

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