Athletes fine-tune preps in SA
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.”