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Boxing bodies at loggerheads

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — The International Boxing Amateur Association (Aiba) says it will not recognise the Lesotho Amateur Boxing Association (Laba) until it has resolved a leadership row that has dragged on for the past three years.

Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) public relations officer, Moshoeshoe Mokake, told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday that the international boxing mother body had recently written to the committee to state its position on the dispute.

“Yes we do have such news on our table and we have received official correspondence from Aiba informing us they will not recognise anybody from Laba until the problems have been solved,” Mokake said.

Laba is reportedly split into two factions that are battling for the control of the association.

One is said to be led by Dr Makhetha Mosotho while the other is led by former general secretary Takatso Ramakhula.

A source within the LNOC said matters came to a boil earlier this month when Aiba told the committee that it would not recognise anybody from Laba until it puts its house in order.

The source said the snubbing of the local association became evident when Aiba rejected Laba’s two delegates to the Africa London 2012 Olympic qualifiers scheduled for Morocco later this month.

In a bid to resolve the impasse over leadership, Laba had appointed the two feuding leaders (Mosotho and Ramakhula) to attend the qualifiers in Morocco as team doctor and manager respectively.

But the LNOC would not have any of that as they decided to send its administrator, Tlali Rampeane, as a replacement for the two.

Mokake said the LNOC eventually decided to send a neutral delegate to the Africa London Olympics qualifiers to accompany the team.

“Mr Mosotho and Ramakhula were the ones accredited to accompany the team but our office will have to delegate one of us (LNOC) from the office to go with the team,” he said, adding that this decision was taken to ensure that athletes are not prejudiced.

LNOC’s mandate is to ensure the development of sports.

Mokake said it was a pity that the dispute came at a time when there was progress in addressing challenges facing boxing in the country.

He said they were at an advanced stage of finding long-lasting solutions to the association’s problems through the two factions working together.

“Our discussions with both sides were fruitful and their recommendations were also of great contribution towards developing the sport in the country,” he added.

Currently, only two African boxers, both from Algeria, have qualified for the tournament.

There are still 40 more slots available for African boxers and these must be filled at the Morocco games.

The games will give African boxers the last chance to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

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