A great sporting weekend

 

Mikia Kalati

Lebenya Nkoka and ‘Mamaroallo Tjoka were the big winners of a busy sporting weekend, which included the High Altitude Summer Marathon and Roof of Africa off-road motorcycle race.

The veteran, long distance runners both won first positions in the male and female categories of the biggest athletics competition in our country, whose winners pocket a cool M100 000 each, and congratulations are in order for this great accomplishment.

It was important that the competitions be won by local athletes and the two rose to the occasion to make us proud as a nation.

I must say, I was a bit worried leading to the race after last year’s winner in the male category, Mabuthile Lebopo, pulled out of the competition alongside Motlokoa Nkhabutlane, who came second in last month’s Soweto Marathon.

This is because the High Altitude race has grown in stature over the past few years and now attracts some of the best runners from across Africa.

Lebopo was pushed all the way last year but his experience proved vital in the end, while Tjoka was beaten to first position by Asefa Chelitu Bogela of Ethiopia. This outcome proved the  competition had, indeed, become very tough and that local runners needed to double their efforts to prevail on the rugged terrain of Mokhotlong .

But it looks like the Marathon Queen did her homework this time around to end the year on a high.

The fact that there were South Africans and Zimbabweans in the top five in both categories says it all about the tough competition in the race.

I’m equally happy that Nkoka also lived up to expectations to win the men’s race and prove to the rest of the continent that we can still compete as far as marathons are concerned.

As for Roof of Africa, Wade Young, was in the spotlight once again, as he won the competition for the second time, despite only being 18 years of age.

The KwaZulu-Natal-born biker became the youngest winner of the Roof in 2012 when he beat the previous year’s winner, Jarvis Graham from the United Kingdom.

He has done it again as he continues to rewrite the history books for somebody of his tender age.

Thumbs up also to the Lesotho Basketball Association (LBA) leaders, who continue to come-up with different initiatives to grow the sport in the country.

The LBA held a fun walk in Maseru last weekend, leading to their upcoming Summer Slam Charity Tournament, whose proceeds would be presented to some of Lesotho’s needy children.

The Vodacom Premier League also provided some great entertainment, ensuring a gripping end to the first round of the 2014/15 campaign.

Lioli maintained their impressive form to remain top of the 14-team table, beating Kick4Life 2-0 in Maseru, while second-placed Bantu defeated Linare by the same margin to make it an interest weekend for the two teams vying for the league title.

Bantu’s Litšepe Marabe scored his 10th goal of the campaign as he continues with his good run of form in front of goal.

This is a player who spent the whole of last season without kicking a ball in an official match for Garankuwa United in the South African First Division.

Marabe proved he remains one of the best players in this country by fighting back after such a frustrating spell of his football career.

I have also been impressed by Liphakoe who have all won all their eight matches of the A Division Southern Stream and look set to end the first round unbeaten. Liphakoe are also yet to concede a goal.

The Quthing-based side have shown their intentions to return to topflight football and I think I’m one of those people waiting to see them back in the Premiership because it would be good for Lesotho as it ensures the game is spread around the country and not just concentrated in Maseru.

 

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