Athletes leave for SA championships

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LAAA spokesperson Sejanamane Maphathe
LAAA spokesperson Sejanamane Maphathe

Mikia Kalati

Nineteen athletes leave the country today for the South African Open Athletics Championships scheduled for Potchefstroom from 8-9 May.

The athletes would use the two-day track-and-fields event to secure qualification for the All-Africa Games to be held in Brazzaville, Congo later this year, according to Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) public relations officer, Sejanamane Maphathe.

“We are giving our young athletes a chance to qualify for the All-Africa Games and other competitions and this is why we are taking a larger group to the Potchefstroom championships,” Maphathe said.

“The association has been facing financial challenges and only took two athletes to Mauritius for the recent African Junior Athletics Championships, but we have a bigger pool this time around since the competition is happening in a neighbouring country.”

Maphathe further said LAAA officials were now racing against time to make sure the required number of athletes are assembled for the Brazzaville games. The 11th All Africa Games are scheduled for 4–19 September 2015 in the Republic of the Congo.

“It’s always important to have a big team at major competitions such as the All-Africa Games; it improves the quality of athletes and also their development,” said Maphathe.

“If everything goes according to plan, the group will leave the country on Thursday as the competition gets underway on Friday and ends on Saturday. We hope the athletes will have enough time to rest if we arrive in Potchefstroom a day before the event.”

Maphathe highlighted the touring party comprises athletes without any international exposure, which he said was in line with the LAAA’s development objectives.

“The athletes we are taking to South Africa have been identified during different competitions and show a lot of promise. They have no international exposure, but we hope by the time they leave Potchefstroom, they would learn a lot about athletics at that level.”

Meanwhile, Maphathe also told the Lesotho Times that Sekeke Lesole, Ramolefi Motsieloa that marathon queen, ‘Mamoroallo Tjoka, would be called for a disciplinary hearing on 25, 26 and 28 May.

Tjoka and Lesole tested positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs at last December’s High Altitude Summer Marathon in Mokhotlong, while Motsieloa also failed a dope-test at the 2014 edition of the Soweto Marathon in South Africa.

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