LESOTHO’S top mountain biker Phetetso Monese says the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has given him his worst experience yet as he has only participated in one competition since January 2020.
Monese has only competed in the Matekane Group of Companies’ (MGC) Matšonyane MTB Championship held in March in Thaba-Tseka.
And as an athlete who survives solely on sports, he says he is now facing serious financial challenges.
All sporting activities have been suspended in Lesotho since end of March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has also seen several sporting activities being either cancelled or postponed across the globe.
Monese told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday that he, along with several other athletes were going through a tough period financially.
“This is a very difficult period,” Monesa said.
Monese is a member of the ACE-Sufferfest African Dream Team Lesotho and until January this year, was one of the athletes who were getting monthly allowances. However, ACE-Sufferfest African Dream Team also announced in January that it was experiencing financial challenges and could not continue paying allowances.
“The team was facing financial challenges so it stopped paying allowances and now the situation has just worsened because there are no races due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
He said they were now banking on government relief although it was still unclear whether or not they would get it.
Monese however, said their only solace was that for now they can remain fit by continuing to train although he anticipates that most cyclists will struggle to come up with the requisite nutrition.
Monese believes that the experience is a lesson for other local athletes to ensure that they always have fall back plans by having strong educational backgrounds so that they can have alternatives.
“Athletes must have other sources of income outside sports. There is a critical need to balance sports and education so that they are ready for eventualities like the Covid-19 pandemic,” Monese said.