‘Makhetha the new marathon king’

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

ATH­LET­ICS guru and coach, Chap­lin Mpo­mane, says the sky is the only limit for Matela Makhetha ( pic­tured left), who won the 2015 Man­dela Marathon on Sun­day.

The Thaba-tseka-born Makhetha shrugged off Ethiopian Sufa Chala Damessa to take the win, worth R100 000, in the 42km marathon in two hours, 28 min­utes and 17 sec­onds.

In an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week, Mpo­mane said there was more to come from Makhetha, adding that the Man­dela Marathon win would only boost his con­fi­dence to strive for higher ac­co­lades.

“The fu­ture is very bright for this ath­lete. He is among a group of run­ners that have a lot go­ing for them and I am sure he will de­liver,” Mpo­mane said.

“I be­lieve that with a good head on his shoul­ders and di­rec­tion he can go places.”

The ath­let­ics coach said he was well-ac­quainted with Makhetha, hav­ing men­tored him at the be­gin­ning of his ca­reer.

“I know him very well as I was his coach when he started out as a young­ster along with Tšepo Ra­monene who has since changed his sur­name to Mathi­belle,” said Mpo­mane.

“I just feel that maybe Mathi­belle was rushed to com­pete in such com­pe­ti­tions as the Olympics and World Cham­pi­onships when he was not yet ready, and that was his un­do­ing.”

He said Mathi­belle took a lot of flak for his poor per­for­mance dur­ing the last Olympic Games, “yet his crit­ics did not con­sider that he was still a young boy”.

“But he has now ma­tured and showed this dur­ing the re­cent Bei­jing World Cham­pi­onship where he qual­i­fied for the Rio De Janeiro Games. He is ma­tur­ing and get­ting bet­ter as well and I think we should ex­pect a lot of good things from these young­sters in the up­com­ing ma­jor sport­ing events,” said Mpo­mane.

He also lauded triple jump star, Le­gatos Sechele, who is cur­rently com­pet­ing at the All Africa Games in Congo, Braz­zav­ille.

The 21-year old Sechele is on a train­ing camp schol­ar­ship in Sene­gal and is among Le­sotho’s medal hopes dur­ing the Olympics in Rio De Janiero next year.

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