LNOC missteps need urgent correction
THE curtain came down on the Rio Olympics on Sunday, with Lesotho’s representatives once again coming home empty-handed.
As if to sum up Lesotho’s lacklustre showing at the games, marathon runner Tšepang Mathibelle and mountain biker Phethetso Monese failed to finish their races due to dehydration and a broken bicycle chain respectively.
It is disconcerting that we continue to make the same mistakes in all the tournaments we participate in. A lot of money is poured into helping athletes qualify and prepare for major events such as the 2016 Summer Olympics.
In turn, Basotho have a reasonable expectation for athletes to perform well in these events and win medals.
During the Rio Games, the expectation was for team Lesotho to improve from the performances of the London Games in 2012 since Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) president, Matlohang Moiloa Ramoqopo, was in charge in the two games.
Honestly speaking, I had seen the warning signs of some of the athletes’ lack of pre- paredness even before they left for Brazil.
A classic example is Nomakoe Nkhasi, who secured qualification later than the rest of the eight-member team.
Nkhasi’s first race representing his country was the African Senior Championship held in Durban, South Africa in June where he managed to secure a ticket to Brazil and also won a bronze medal.
I remember talking to Nkhasi about his preparations under two weeks before to the Olympics. To my amazement, he said no communication had been made to him, and he didn’t even know when he was supposed to leave for Brazil.
It was only later in the day that some LNOC officials called the 10 000m runner and summoned him for a meeting in Maseru, which I doubt would have happened were it not for the fact the issue had made its way to the media.it speaks volumes about the running of our sports associations.
I think the trip to Brazil was more like a holiday for some of the LNOC committee members. Ramoqopo decided to use her privilege of being accompanied by a partner of her choice to bring her husband to Rio.
Even though the LNOC boss was within her rights to bring her spouse, in my view, it would have made more sense and shown good leadership qualities to bring an official from one of the associations.
After all, this was a working trip for all the LNOC board members who were in Brazil, and it would have been a good platform for a sports administrator to network with their counterparts.
In any case, the chef de mission and LNOC secretary qualified for the privilege, but opted to accommodate other officials from the Olympic mother body.
So the LNOC president should have led by example.
LNOC has made a number of missteps that hampered the development of athletes such as triple-jumper Lerato Sechele who was sent to a training camp in Senegal.
Her performances are below par since the move to the West African country, and it came as no surprise that she failed to qualify for the Rio Games.