Athletics season kicks off

MASERU — Lesotho’s athletics year will begin in earnest this Saturday when the Lesotho Senior Track and Field Events Championships are held at the Setsoto Stadium.
The meeting is part of preparations for the Africa Athletics Championships to be held in July in Kenya, and October’s Commonwealth Games in India.
“The championships are for seniors. After this we are going to select a pool of athletes who we will begin to help with preparations,” Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association’s (LAAA) public relations officer Sejanamane Mapathe told the Lesotho Times on Monday.
“From that pool we will select those that will participate at the African Championships and the Commonwealth Games,” Mapathe said.
“We will take them to races in South Africa, Mauritius and other countries in Africa and they will also be taken to the High Performance Centre in Pretoria,” Mapathe said.
“The athletes are ready (to compete), the only problem is whether they will get the support and sponsorship,” Mapathe said.
While the Africa Athletics Championships won’t feature the marathon, the main hope again for the country at the Commonwealth Games will be the road runners.
Among those hopes are Sechaba Bohosi and Mpho Moeti who participated in the 10 km Angolan New Year’s Eve Road Race in Angola. Bohosi finished in seventh position while Moeti came in 24th place.
At the last Commonwealth Games, Lesotho’s representatives in the marathon ‘Mamoroallo Tjoka, Lebenya Nkoka and Teboho Sello all finished in the top 10.
But at the 2008 Olympic Games none of the country’s four runners in Beijing – Tjoka, Moeketsi Mosuhli, Mabuthile Lepobo and Tsotang Maine –managed to finish their races.
However Mapathe was adamant the athletes were of an international standard.
“Their standard is high they can compete at any level,” Mapathe said. “The important thing is that they have to compete in international races. If they only compete here at home they are doomed.”
He also said the issue of money would not rear its ugly head again this season.
“Last year we resolved with our athletes that we have to make compromises for our country. Those are now matters of the past,” Mapathe said.

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