Legend speaks out on Rio travails
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.”