Triple jump star speaks out

Sunday Express - - SPORTS -

RIPLE jump star, Ler­ato Sechele, had high hopes of qual­i­fy­ing for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games when she left Le­sotho for an Olympic Sol­i­dar­ity schol­ar­ship pro­gramme in Sene­gal.

Sechele was one of five ath­letes who re­ceived two-year spon­sor­ships from the Le­sotho Na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (LNOC) to help them in their prepa­ra­tions for the 2016 Olympic Games and she was en­rolled at a high per­for­mance train­ing cen­tre in Dakar, Sene­gal.

How­ever, things did not go ac­cord­ing to plan and Sechele’s dream of qual­i­fy­ing for the Olympics was shat­tered fol­low­ing a string of poor per­for­mances. In this in­ter­view with the

SE) Sechele fi­nally ex­plains how she fell from an Junior Africa triple jump cham­pion to just an or­di­nary ath­lete.

press (

SE: When you left the coun­try in 2014 you were blaz­ing hot and had just won the Africa Junior Cham­pi­onships in Mau­ri­tius in 2013. But ever since you went to Sene­gal every­thing seems to have turned up­side down. What went wrong? Sechele:

I was one of the top per­form­ers when I left Le­sotho but un­for­tu­nately my per­for­mance took a bad turn af­ter­wards.

So many wrong things hap­pened there and you won’t believe it when I say that I was the only fe­male ath­lete do­ing triple jump at the cen­tre and the coach­ing wasn’t good.

SE: You rep­re­sented the coun­try at the All Africa Games in Congo Braz­zav­ille in 2015 and your per­for­mance was not good. Was it be­cause of the rea­sons you just gave? Sechele:

Sun­day Ex-

I was so dis­ap­pointed to see my per­for­mance drop­ping but I went to those games al­ready low on con­fi­dence. I was even afraid to com­pete be­cause I could feel that I was not in a good state.

SE: Were you in con­tact with the Leso- tho Am­a­teur Ath­let­ics As­so­ci­a­tion (LAAA) and LNOC and did you in­form them about your sit­u­a­tion? Sechele:

I alerted them about my sit­u­a­tion and every time we talked about it they kept on giv­ing me hope and un­for­tu­nately things didn’t work out.

I re­mem­ber telling them after the All Africa Games that I no longer wanted to go back to Sene­gal but I was as­sured that things would get bet­ter only to return to the same sit­u­a­tion.

I al­ready knew that my big­gest chal­lenge was with my tech­nique and I told my coach in Sene­gal about this. But he wouldn’t lis­ten and he kept re­mind­ing me that I was still young and I should stop wor­ry­ing about that. He rather dis­cour­aged in­stead of help­ing me.

SE: How did that make you feel con­sid­er­ing that when you left Le­sotho the aim was to help you qual­ify for the 2016 Olympics? Sechele:

BANTU coach, James Ma­didi­lane, says they are alive to the threat posed by in­con­sis­tent Linare when the two sides meet this after­noon in an Econet Premier League match at Ma­put­soe DIFA ground. The cham­pi­ons have made a storm­ing start to the sea­son win­ning all their three matches to date against Se­fotha-fotha, Liphakoe and LMPS.

On the other hand, Linare have been in­con­sis­tent, los­ing their opener against Ma­jan­tja and fol­low­ing that up with a one-all stalemate with Mat­lama be­fore reg­is­ter­ing their first win against Liphakoe last week­end.

Ma­didi­lane re­cently told the Sun­day Ex­press have to be at their best to win to­day. “Linare is one of the most dan­ger­ous sides in our league be­cause they have a very good coach and we know that they are ca­pa­ble of caus­ing an up­set,” the for­mer Mar­itzburg United de­fender said.

“Their con­fi­dence is back after their win against Liphakoe. The signs were al­ready there when they drew with Mat­lama so we know that it is not go­ing to be a walk in the park. They are a big team and we re­spect them but we mean busi­ness. “It is a good thing to have a big pool of play­ers as ev­ery­one works hard and fights for the place in the team week in and week out.

“I am confident every player that we will field will give 100 per­cent.”

For his part, Linare act­ing spokesper­son, Thabo Rakhomo, said they were ready for the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons.

“It is not go­ing to be an easy match be­cause we are play­ing one of the best teams but the play­ers have been work­ing hard at train­ing and so Bantu should ex­pect a tough chal­lenge.

“Play­ing a big team is al­ways self-mo­ti­vat­ing to the play­ers and the fact that we are the un­der­dogs will ease some of the pres­sure.

“Last week­end’s win (over Liphakoe) will also play a big role in mo­ti­vat­ing the team against Bantu,” Rakhomo said.

In other matches, Sky Bat­tal­ion will host Liphakoe at LCS Ground while LMPS are away to San­dawana at Ma­put­soe DIFA Sta­dium.

It was such a painful ex­pe­ri­ence espe­cially as I had missed the Africa Cham­pi­onships that were held in Dur­ban, South Africa early last year which were the last qual­i­fiers for the Olympics.

But I sol­diered on and de­cided not to give up. It was in­deed painful but it also taught me to be strong.

I learned it is not al­ways the case that things will go my way but that doesn’t mean I have to throw in the towel but rather work hard and keep fo­cused.

There were other ath­letes at the cen­tre who were do­ing well in their dis­ci­plines and it al­ways mo­ti­vated me to see them com­pete and win.

Even now when I am at home and feel­ing lazy, I leave the house and hit the gym re­mem­ber­ing how other ath­letes are be­ing treated in Sene­gal.

The en­vi­ron­ment is not good for ath­letes, from the food we ate to how things were con­ducted. I am happy to be back home and I am fo­cus­ing on re­build­ing my ca­reer. that they will

SE: When did you return from Sene­gal and what have you been do­ing since then? Sechele:

I re­turned in July 2016 to my old coach, Reynold Si­las. I am pre­par­ing for next year’s Com­mon­wealth Games in Gold Coast, Aus­tralia.

SE: And how has it been since you re­turned? Sechele:

I am im­pressed with my per­for­mance since I re­turned and I have been work­ing hard. I set a new na­tional record of 12.96 me­tres break­ing Sel­loane Tšoaeli’s long time record of 12.72. I went fur­ther than that when I did 12.98 me­tres in France early this year.

I will par­tic­i­pate in as many com­pe­ti­tions as pos­si­ble in or­der to qual­ify for the Com­mon­wealth Games. I am now aim­ing for 13.00 me­tres and 13.50 me­tres next sea­son.

I believe in my coach and he had told me that I can achieve that.

I just have to keep on work­ing hard and push­ing my­self.

I am tar­get­ing South African com­pe­ti­tions and I think I will par­tic­i­pate in three com­pe­ti­tions.

It is very im­por­tant for ath­letes to gain in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure and our fail­ure to par­tic­i­pate in sev­eral com­pe­ti­tions is of­ten the cause for our poor per­for­mances. Our ad­min­is­tra­tors know that and they of­ten tell us there is no money for us to com­pete. But they re­ally need to do some­thing about that be­cause every time we get ex­posed to huge crowds we end up get­ting stage fright and we end up los­ing even when it’s not nec­es­sary.

SE: You were also sup­posed to study in Sene­gal. How that did that go? Sechele:

Yes, I was sup­posed to go to school but upon my ar­rival the di­rec­tor of the cen­tre said I should first at­tend a French school to learn the lan­guage since Sene­gal is a Fran­co­phone na­tion. That was the only school I at­tended there.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.