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Athletics, chess dominate LASA awards

by Lesotho Times
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Mikia Kalati

THE 2019 edition of Lesotho Annual Sports Awards (LASA) was dominated by the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association and the Lesotho Chess Association as several of their athletes bagged awards on the night.

Lerato Sechele, who has been impressive in recent months winning three competitions in South Africa in long jump and triple jump, walked away with the Sportswoman of the Year award. Her impressive campaign started with winning bronze at the African Senior Championship held in Nigeria last year while she was also mourning the passing away of her father.

Manqabang Tsibela, who was the country’s star performer in athletics at the 2018 African Union Sports Council games (AUSC) Region 5 Games in Botswana, won the Junior Female Sportsperson of the year.

Athletics youngster Thebe Semoko also had a good night at the awards bagging the Junior Male Sportsperson of the Year as well as the Newcomer of the Year award.

Sechaba Khalema walked away with the Sportsman of the Year award also after an impressive year representing Lesotho in chess competitions.

Another of the chess star Tokelo Klass, walked away with the Sports Star of the Year award after he was rewarded with the Candidate Master during last year’s Chess Olympiad in Georgia.

Defending Econet Premier League Champions Bantu won the Team of the Year award after becoming the first Lesotho side to make it past the group stages of the CAF Champions League in almost two decades when they eliminated Township Rollers of Botswana earlier this year.

Former Likuena stars Thulo ‘Magic Touch’ Leboela, Lekoane ‘Computer’ Lekoane, Popo ‘16v’ Matšoara (posthumously) were rewarded with Sport Legacy awards alongside tennis legend Mokete Mokhosi and Patrick Andrews, who represented Lesotho in the early editions of the Roof of Africa quadbike competitions.

Informative newspaper’s sports reporter, Leemisa Thuseho, who recently won the Alliance award Print Reporter of the Year, made it a memorable year, walking away with the Journalist of the Year award.

Mosiuoa Motsieloa, who also had an impressive campaign for Lesotho at the 2018 AUSC Region 5 Games, won in the Junior Sports Male Sportsperson with a disability category.

Speaking about the awards, the legendary Leboela, who is regarded as one of the finest players to have played the game in the country, told this publication that the award came as a surprise.

“To be honest, I’m humbled with the award because it came as a surprise,” Leboela said.

“There are many of us in this category and I would still have been happy if it went to my other brothers. What is important is that we are being rewarded for the service we gave to our country as soccer players and legends in different sporting codes.

“I want to thank the LSRC for coming with these awards. It’s a good initiative.”

Meanwhile, Sechele told the Lesotho Times that she was elated that her hard work has been rewarded.

“This award means a lot to me and the career that I have had. It has given me strength and encouragement that there is a lot that I can give to my country. It’s a big motivation for me to continue performing well at the big stage.

“The award has also made me realise that I have a lot of supporters in the country and I should continue to make them proud.

“I appreciate their love and will work hard to bring more success for them,” Sechele said.

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