Min­istry scored own goal with Mokhot­long race

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

The High Al­ti­tude Sum­mer Marathon has be­come one of the big­gest sport­ing events in the land — run in De­cem­ber over the rugged ter­rain of Mokhot­long.

The event is now at par with top South African marathons in terms of prize monies, with win­ners in both the male and fe­male cat­e­gories each tak­ing home a cool M100 000.

In fact, the spoils are so at­trac­tive run­ners from as far as Kenya and Ethiopia have be­come fa­mil­iar faces at the race, adding to its ever-grow­ing pro­file as a marathon wor­thy of in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion.

How­ever, things were not the same this year be­cause the or­gan­i­sa­tion, mar­ket­ing and plan­ning of the race were very poor, to say the least, which I sus­pect was one of the rea­sons we did not have any East Africans at the event. For­eign­ers who at­tended the event were from South Africa and Zim­babwe, with Pule Hlabahlaba of SA and Le­sotho’s Mole­bo­heng Mafata tak­ing the male and fe­male cat­e­gories of the main race.

But I was very dis­ap­pointed talk­ing to some ath­letes on Fri­day last week when I learnt they did not know if the race would go ahead the fol­low­ing day.

Per­haps the fact that Letšeng Di­a­monds is no longer spon­sor­ing the event with big monies like the min­ing com­pany did in the past was part rea­son why this was the case.

Again, be­cause the 2014 edi­tion of the race was rocked by a dop­ing scan­dal, the ath­letes could have been jus­ti­fied to be­lieve the event might have been sus­pended to al­low the or­gan­is­ers time to clean the mess.

But I be­lieve all the Min­istry of Sports and the Le­sotho Am­a­teur Ath­let­ics As­so­ci­a­tion had to do was as­sure stake­hold­ers that they would clean their house and en- sure a scan­dal-free race, and send out this mes­sage well on time to re­move any doubts about the marathon tak­ing place and its cred­i­bil­ity.

If the min­istry which owns the race if I may say, can no longer han­dle the race, then they should do the right thing and hand it to some­one with the ca­pac­ity to do so.

For me, this was like scor­ing an own goal be­cause the min­istry has the re­sources to prop­erly mar­ket the race and en­sure its suc­cess.

This is a min­istry with fully staffed pub­lic re­la­tions and mar­ket­ing de­part­ments, yet they failed to do their job prop­erly in terms of pro­mot­ing one of the big­gest sport­ing events in the coun­try.

This year’s edi­tion of the race lacked the hype and ex­cite­ment one would have ex­pected from it and I hope Sports Min­is­ter Mathi­beli Mokhothu will make sure this does not hap­pen again.

I must say, I ex­pected a lot from his min­istry since he took over from Chief Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane early this year.

But to this day, I don’t think there is any­thing worth talk­ing about that has been achieved by this min­istry.

THE Mokhot­long High Al­ti­tude Sum­mer Marathon has be­come one of the big­gest sport­ing events in the Moun­tain King­dom.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.