All systems go for team Lesotho

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Boxer Moroke Mokhotho and his coach Sibusiso Keketsi pose for a picture after arriving in Brazil
Boxer Moroke Mokhotho and his coach Sibusiso Keketsi pose for a picture after arriving in Brazil

Mikia Kalati

LESOTHO’S 2016 Summer Olympics head of delegation, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, says everything is in place for the eight athletes representing the country at the sporting showcase in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Rio Games get underway tomorrow until 21 August, with team Lesotho consisting of sportspersons from the disciplines of athletics, cycling and boxing.

Mosito Lehata, Tšepang Sello, Nomakwe Nkhasi, Lebenya Nkoka and Tšepo Mathibelle will compete in athletics, Moroke Mokhotho and Inkululeko Suntele in boxing, while cycling will be represented by Phethetso Monese.

Ntsibolane has been in Brazil since 25 July, while sprinter Lehata as well as boxers Mokhotho and Suntele arrived on 29 and 30 July respectively.

Cyclist Monese, 10 000m runner Nkhasi and 800m runner Tšepang Sello left the country for Rio on Tuesday.

Marathon runners Nkoka and Mathibelle will go to the South American country next week as their events will be held at the tail end of the sporting showcase. Ntsibolane said the duo would continue with their training schedule in the Mountain Kingdom.

“It is all system go for team Lesotho at the Olympics, and some of our athletes are already settling down after arriving here in Rio de Janeiro,” he said.

“Lehata was the first to arrive, after completing his training camp in France, and was joined a day later by the boxing pair of Mokhotho and Suntele along with their coach after their month-long camp in Cuba.

“Everything is in place for all the athletes as far as accommodation and their training facilities are concerned.”

Ntsibolane was upbeat over Lesotho’s prospects to break the Olympics medal duck during the Rio Games.

“I think we have a chance to come back with a medal or two, especially from the boxers and Lehata who have competed at such high profile tournaments before,” he said.

“All the athletes have prepared well and are motivated to make a good account of themselves at the Olympics. Of course, it will not be easy being a global event, and competition will be very stiff.”

Suntele will kick off Lesotho’s campaign next Wednesday in the men’s 56 kg round of 32 bout, followed by Lehata who will take to the track on 13 August during the preliminary qualifying round of the 100m race.

The 100m semi-final and final race will be held the next day, while the round of 16 and quarterfinal of Suntele’s 56kg category will be held on 14 and 16 August respectively.

Mokhotho, who boxes in the 52kg weight category, will also start on 13 August in the round of 32 which will be followed by the last 16 two days later, while the quarterfinals will be held on 15 August.

Half marathon and 5 000m runner, Nkhasi, will be in action on 20 and 21 August respectively, while cyclist Monese will race in the Mountain Bike competition on 20 August.

Sello will start her competition on 17 August, with marathon runners Nkoka and Mathibelle competing on 21 August.

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