Cy­clists battling it out in Mokhot­long

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

THE 2016 african moun­tain Bike Cham­pi­onship got un­der­way in Mokhot­long yes­ter­day with 15 riders rep­re­sent­ing Le­sotho in this an­nual show­piece.

Riders from Egypt, Mau­ri­tius, Rwanda, Botswana, Le­sotho, South Africa, Zim­babwe, Namibia, mozam­bique and Tu­nisia are battling it out for the spoils in this com­pe­ti­tion.

Le­sotho did not take part in last year’s edi­tion of the cham­pi­onship due to fi­nan­cial con­straints, ac­cord­ing to Le­sotho cy­cling as­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent, Se­haole Mpopo.

“We are very happy to host this com­pe­ti­tion which ends on Sun­day and be­lieve our team will do us proud,” Mpopo said.

“Most coun­tries will be us­ing the com­pe­ti­tion to qual­ify for the Rio Olympics, but un­for­tu­nately, it is not the same with us as we failed to par­tic­i­pate in last year’s edi­tion held in Rwanda due to lack of funds.

“For that, we have to start from scratch and hope­fully, we will do well and end up qual­i­fy­ing for the Olympics in fu­ture.”

Mpopo said cy­cling was slowly at­tract­ing the youth which he hailed as good for the sport but he lamented lack of sup­port from the busi­ness com­mu­nity.

“We will soon start a cam­paign to mo­bilise sup­port for our ac­tiv­i­ties from com­pa­nies.

“If it wasn’t for fi­nan­cial is­sues which pre­vented us from tak­ing part in the same com­pe­ti­tion last year, then our riders would now be com­pet­ing to qual­ify for the Brazil Games.”

mpopo said the as­so­ci­a­tion mostly de­pends on quar­terly sub­ven­tions from the min­istry of Sports for sur­vival, hence his ap­peal for fund­ing from busi­ness.

Team Le­sotho

Keketso Monese, Te­boho Khantsi, Paseka Makhebe­sela, Likeleli Ma­sitise, Lich­aba West, Meke Ma­pa­nya, Tšepo Shelile, Jonas Machere.

RIDERS com­pete dur­ing a Le­sotho Sky Com­pe­ti­tion held in Roma last year - file pics.

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