‘Makhetha the new marathon king’
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.