The 2016 African Mountain Bike Championship got underway in Mokhotlong yesterday with 15 riders representing Lesotho in this annual showpiece.
Riders from Egypt, Mauritius, Rwanda, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique and Tunisia are battling it out for the spoils in this competition.
Lesotho did not take part in last year’s edition of the championship due to financial constraints, according to Lesotho Cycling Association president, Sehaole Mpopo.
“We are very happy to host this competition which ends on Sunday and believe our team will do us proud,” Mpopo said.
“Most countries will be using the competition to qualify for the Rio Olympics, but unfortunately, it is not the same with us as we failed to participate in last year’s edition held in Rwanda due to lack of funds.
“For that, we have to start from scratch and hopefully, we will do well and end up qualifying for the Olympics in future.”
Mpopo said cycling was slowly attracting the youth which he hailed as good for the sport but he lamented lack of support from the business community.
“We will soon start a campaign to mobilise support for our activities from companies.
“If it wasn’t for financial issues which prevented us from taking part in the same competition last year, then our riders would now be competing to qualify for the Brazil Games.”
Mpopo said the association mostly depends on quarterly subventions from the Ministry of Sports for survival, hence his appeal for funding from business.
Keketso Monese, Teboho Khantsi, Paseka Makhebesela, Likeleli Masitise, Lichaba West, Meke Mapanya, Tšepo Shelile, Jonas Machere.