THE Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) says it is banking on High Altitude Summer Marathon 21 kilometres champion, Jobo Khatoane, to bring home a gold medal from the First Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) African Beach Games in the Sal Island, in Cape Verde.
The half-marathon champion will participate in the games which start tomorrow and run until 23 June. The half-marathon event is scheduled for Sunday at 8am.
Khatoane, who was the first runner-up at the Two Oceans Marathon in April this year, will be joined by Lineo Chaka, who came third in the Two Oceans 10 kilometre race.
The LNOC said in a statement this week that Khatoane is a strong contender for a medal considering that he has fared fairly well lately.
Chaka, who was part of the Lesotho team which participated in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in April last year, is a late entrant as a replacement for Marathon queen Mamoroallo Tjoka, who was withdrawn from the team.
“Lesotho will be represented by Khatoane and Chaka, who will both be competing in the half-marathon athletics event. Chaka has been included as a late replacement for Mamoroallo Tjoka, who was withdrawn. The athletes will be accompanied by coach, Chaplin Mpomane while Matefelo Mokhehle will be heading the delegation as Chef de Mission,” the statement reads.
“Khatoane is, in particular, a strong prospect for a medal considering the good season he has had. Recent honours include winning the 21km category in the High-Altitude Summer Marathon and second in the 21km Two Oceans Marathon in a time of 01:03:30.”
The games are a celebration of sports played on or around beaches and the programmes include 10 different sports ranging from volleyball to offshore rowing and the 54 African countries are expected to be represented.
According to the statement, the duo left the country on Sunday accompanied by veteran coach Chaplin Mpomane as the coach while Matefelo Mokhehle is the head of delegation.
The LNOC said it is confident that the duo will do well since they had good preparations taking part in different competitions where they came up with competitive times.
“Both athletes’ preparations for the event have gone well. They competed in the recent Peace in Africa Race in Durban on 25 May 2019, with Khatoane winning the half-marathon distance in a time of 1:04:06 and Chaka coming second in the 10km with a time of 36:11.
“Apart from the athletics event, beach volleyball was also considered as a sport to compete in. However, despite making significant progress, the Lesotho beach volleyball teams were unable to secure qualification for the Games,” the LNOC said.