Ath­letes fine-tune preps in SA

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

Sprinter Mos­ito Le­hata is among three Le­sotho rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the 20th african Se­nior ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships cur­rently un­der­way in Dur­ban, South africa.

The event kicked off yes­ter­day and ends on Sun­day, with Le­hata, marathoner no­man­goe nkhasi and 5000-me­tre run­ner Tšepang Sello fly­ing the Le­sotho flag at the cham­pi­onship.

Le­hata (26) will take part in the 100me­tre and 200 me­tre races, while much would be ex­pected of nkhasi (21), who won the 2016 Two Oceans half-marathon. Sello (18) is also ex­pected to do well at the com­pe­ti­tion and qual­ify for the Olympics set for the Olympic Games to be held in au­gust this year.

ac­cord­ing to Le­sotho ama­teur ath­let­ics as­so­ci­a­tion pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Se­janame Maphathe, the fed­er­a­tion de­cided against bring­ing triple-jump ath­lete Ler­ato Sechele to the Dur­ban event be­cause the Le­sotho na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee ( LNOC) man­age­ment were un­happy with her per­for­mance and un­will­ing to fund her trip from Sene­gal.

Sechele is based at the Dakar High Per­for­mance Cen­tre un­der the LNOC Sol­i­dar­ity Schol­ar­ship, but her per­for­mance has de­te­ri­o­rated so badly she has even failed to qual­ify for the Olympics.

“We were sup­posed to send a team of four ath­letes to the african Cham­pi­onship, but Sechele will no longer take part due to her poor per­for­mances since mov­ing to Sene­gal,” Maphathe said.

“as for the other three ath­letes, they are in good shape and ready to do the coun­try proud.”

Maphathe also ex­pects the con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tion to help the ath­letes fine-tune their act for the Brazil event.

“Mos­ito will surely want to do well be­cause this is his last ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion be­fore the Olympics and I’m con­fi­dent he will be in top form,” said Maphathe.

“nkhasi is also start­ing to make a name for him­self af­ter he won the Two Oceans half-marathon and a lot will be ex­pected from him in Dur­ban.

“as for Sello, she is mak­ing good progress and has been handed this great chance to com­pete at the Olympics by the in­ter­na­tional as­so­ci­a­tion of ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tion (iaaf) so that we have a fe­male in our team as none of the ladies had qual­i­fied for the Brazil com­pe­ti­tion.

“So we are very dis­ap­pointed to go to the Dur­ban com­pe­ti­tion with such a small team and even the Olympics. That is why we will have to act very quickly. One of the mea­sures we will take is ei­ther re­call Sechele from Sene­gal or ne­go­ti­ate for her to be trans­ferred. She has failed to per­form and im­prove since go­ing there.”

De­spite the chal­lenges which are fac­ing lo­cal ath­letes in their prepa­ra­tions for the Olympics, among them fund­ing, Maphathe said he

was hope­ful Team Le­sotho would do well in Brazil. Five Le­sotho ath­letes have so far qual­i­fied for the Olympics.

“We were even strug­gling to trans­port the ath­letes to the Dur­ban com­pe­ti­tion as the Le­sotho Sports and re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion (LSRC) told us that there is no money,” Maphathe said.

“But we will do all we can to sup­port our ath­letes though we failed to even give Tšepo Mathi­belle, who is cur­rently in kenya to pre­pare for the Olympics, even an al­lowance and the ath­lete is de­pend­ing on a for­eign com­pany that saw him do­ing well in a marathon in korea re­cently.

“The sit­u­a­tion is very sad be­cause the boy did not even get a cent from this coun­try for his train­ing camp in kenya and not even from the LNOC who are sup­posed to as­sist his Olympic prepa­ra­tions.”

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