Race for Rio gathers momentum
LESOTHO is sending 10 athletes to the South African athletics series which gets underway this Saturday in Bloemfontein and ends next month.
According to Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) spokesperson Sejanamane Maphathe, the series is meant to help as many local athletes as possible qualify for the Olympic Games set for Brazil later this year.
Maphathe said the association would use every platform available for Lesotho athletes to meet the qualifying standards for the showcase event which takes place every four years.
Sprinter Mosito Lehata and marathon runners Tšepo Ramonene and Lebenya Nkoka are the only Lesotho athletes who have already qualified for the Rio Games, but the LAAA is desperate to increase the size of their team.
“We have an invitation from the South African athletics association to bring our athletes to their series, which will be qualifier for the Olympics,” Maphathe said.
“We have welcomed that opportunity with both hands and will be taking different athletes especially from track-andfield events as well as the relays, to different competitions to increase our team for the Olympics.
“Like I have said, only three athletes have qualified for the Olympics, so we will use this competition that gets underway this weekend and ends in April, to increase the number.”
Maphathe also noted the association has a group of young athletes who have shown potential to develop into worldbeaters.
“We have youngsters such as Mokulubete Makatisi, Seutloali Khohloane and Tšepang Sello who have made good progress in their development as athletes, which is why we are helping them meet Olympic qualifying standards,” said Maphathe.
He also said they were banking on triple-jumper Lerato Sechele, to qualify for the Olympics. Sechele is on a scholarship in Senegal and won a gold medal at the 2011 Southern African Youth Championship held in Namibia.
“It is really important for us to have a bigger team that will be going to Brazil so hopefully, our athletes will do well in this upcoming event and qualify.
“There is also recently-crowned crosscountry champion, Nkhasi Nkhasi, who is already studying in South Africa and will also run in a number of competitions in trying to book a ticket to Brazil.
“She has been very impressive and we have also been getting good feedback from her coach,” he said.
triple-jump athlete lerato Sechele.