‘Roof of Africa to go ahead as planned’

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Leemisa Thuseho

LESOTHO Off Road Association (LORA) secretary general Koo Lemeke says this year’s edition of the Roof of Africa ‘The Mother of Hard Enduro’ Race will go on as planned despite the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Although Lesotho has so far recorded just four cases of the virus, fears are that the cases may still deter gatherings and sporting activities.

This year’s edition has tentatively been penned in for 18 to 21 November although the dates may eventually change depending on the prevailing circumstances.

“For now, the event is likely to go as planned… the dates may later differ but we have tentatively agreed on 18 to 21 November 2020,” Lemeke told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday.

He said they have already been discussing issues relating to the race.

Since several countries across the globe have started relaxing moratoriums on movements of people, Lemeke is hopeful that at by October 2020, most sporting activities would have been given a greenlight to return.

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He said there was also a likelihood that the event would continue since there is a non-contact sport although they would need to strictly observe World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

“Non-contact sports are easier to manage. However, even if we get a good number of riders this year, we are bound to have less spectators.”

While the organisers remain optimistic, the race has already been affected by the pandemic as several athletes in their respective artistes have failed to participate in qualifying events. All the qualifying events have been cancelled.

“We will no longer work with qualifiers but we will rely on information from clubs and their respective associations to get information on different riders’ qualifying information,” Lemeke said.

He allayed fears that the cancellation of qualifiers may affect the main event saying they are only meant for the bronze category. The silver and gold categories rely on information from previous races.

“The qualifiers are meant to screen the number of entries in the bronze category.”

LORA had added new events like the debut National Enduro that was penned in for April 2020 but it was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The organisers are however, hopeful that they will be able to host a Retro Roof Race and the Senqu Enduro although the chances remain slim.

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