Legend speaks out on Rio tra­vails

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

LE­SOTHO’S 1998 Com­mon­wealth Games marathon gold medal­list Thabiso Mo­qhali, says the lack of youth devel­op­ment struc­tures was the rea­son the eight-mem­ber Rio Olympics team was far­ing poorly.

The re­tired run­ner feels lo­cal sport­ing as­so­ci­a­tions, es­pe­cially the Le­sotho Ama­teur Ath­let­ics As­so­ci­a­tion (LAAA), have been get­ting it wrong in their devel­op­ment pro­grammes by not fo­cus­ing on young ath­letes.

Sprinter Mos­ito Le­hata as well as box­ers Moroke Mokhotho and Inku­l­uleko Sun­tele were ex­pected to ac­quit them­selves well in the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics af­ter mak- ing ex­ten­sive prepa­ra­tions. How­ever, Le­hata fell short in the first heat of the 100m and 200m races while the box­ers also crashed out in the pre­lim­i­nary rounds. Ac­cord­ing to Mo­qhali, Le­hata would have been at the level of the likes of Ja­maican sprint star Usain Bolt had he been ex­posed to proper devel­op­ment struc­tures at a young age.

“If Le­hata had been ex­posed to a train­ing cen­tre like the one he uses in Mau­ri­tius at a younger age, he would have been bet­ter placed to com­pete against the likes Usain Bolt. I think his devel­op­ment process hap­pened at a late stage. Even now, the ath­let­ics as­so­ci­a­tion should have al­ready ear­marked ath­letes who will take over from

Le­hata when he even­tu­ally re­tires.”

He said the build up to ma­jor events such as the Olympics should not be about devel­op­ment but prepa­ra­tion, since the for­mer should take place at ju­nior level.

“In the four years lead­ing up to the Olympics, our ath­letes should be com­pet­ing in such ma­jor events as the Bos­ton marathon to fine tune prepa­ra­tions. The ath­letes who went to Brazil were good enough to com­pete, but it is their devel­op­ment that is lack­ing.”

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