Duo guns for Rio glory

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Moorosi Tsiane

RIO DE JANEIRO — Marathon aces, Lebenya Nkoka and Tšepo Mathi­belle, say their re­solve to run their way into the his­tory books by clinch­ing Le­sotho’s first Olympics medals is stronger than ever.

The duo is set to com­pete in the 42.2 kilometre marathon on Sun­day at Sam­bon­dromo Sta­dium in the Brazil­ian coastal city of Rio de Janeiro.

In an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times on the side-lines of their train­ing ses­sion this week, Nkoka and Mathi­belle said they were ready to take on the world’s best af­ter rig­or­ous prepa­ra­tions ahead of the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics.

Nkoka un­der­went a train­ing camp at Motebeng Vil­lage in Ha-lejone while Mathi­belle was in Kenya. The duo ar­rived in Rio de Janeiro last Sun­day.

“It has been a long road of pre­par­ing for th­ese games, and the mo­ment of truth now beck­ons. I am cer­tainly ready to face the world’s best marathon run­ners,” said Nkoka said.

“I know it is not go­ing to be easy, but I also fancy my chances. Even though coun­tries like Kenya have dom­i­nated in marathons, it doesn’t make them au­to­matic win­ners. We all have a chance to win on the day.”

The 33-year old run­ner said he was de­ter­mined to do his na­tion proud by emerg­ing with sil­ver­ware at the global sport­ing showcase.

“It’s com­mon knowl­edge that Le­sotho’s long dis­tance run­ners have not per­formed well in ma­jor tour­na­ments, but hope­fully we will change that trend,” he said.

For his part, Mathi­belle said they held Le­sotho’s last hopes for medals since their marathon would be among the last events of the Rio Games.

“All the ath­letes rep­re­sent­ing Le­sotho wanted to make the na­tion proud. How­ever, some of our team­mates have not fared well and we also feel their pain,” he said.

“So, we are de­ter­mined to per­form well on Sun­day and do our team­mates and coun­try proud.”

Team Le­sotho con­sists of sportsper­sons from the dis­ci­plines of ath­let­ics, cy­cling and box­ing.

Apart from Nkoka and Mathi­belle, ath­let­ics is rep­re­sented by Mos­ito Le­hata, Tšepang Sello and No­makwe Nkhasi, while in box­ing there was Moroke Mokhotho and Inku­l­uleko Sun­tele as well as moun­tain biker Phethetso Monese.

Lebenya nkoka. Tšepo Mathi­belle.

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