Govt honours Two Oceans heroes

By ‘Mamohlakola Letuka

MASERU — The Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation on Monday officially commended four of the country’s athletes for their outstanding performance at this year’s Old Mutual Two Oceans marathon held in Cape Town, South Africa.

The athletes — Lebenya Nkoka, Masilo Matjeane, Warinyane Lebopo and ‘Mamoroallo Tjoka, came first, third, fourth (all male category) and fourth (female section) — in an impressive display by Lesotho athletes during the April 19 56km Two Oceans ultra-marathon .

Speaking at a press briefing held in Maseru, the Minister of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation, Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane said the country was proud of the runners’ achievements.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have requested your presence here today to celebrate the victory of our sports ambassadors, namely Lebenya Nkoka, Masilo Matjeane, Warinyane Lebopo and ‘Mamoroallo Tjoka, and others who took part in the Two Oceans marathon.
“To you our great champions, on behalf of the His Majesty’s government, the Basotho nation and myself as the Minister responsible for sports development, we thank and salute you for raising Lesotho’s flag so high among different nations during this marathon. You have made us proud within the global sport arena,” he said.

The Minister added his ministry seeks to help local athletes turn professional through providing them with the necessary training packages, which would complement what they already have from their individual clubs.
“My intention, in terms of developing and professionalising our athletes, is to give them a training package on top of the sponsors they already have, just to show our support,” he added.

The package, the Minister said, would include the use of South African rehabilitation sports centres, sponsored use of the Rapokolane High Altitude Training Centre in Maseru, and access to opportunities such as scholarships.

Chief ‘Maseribane added: “We are now trying to motivate and support our athletes so that they compete internationally with a winning attitude.

“We are also going to address the public’s concern that our athletes do not give their all when representing the country, in stark contrast to what they do when competing on their own.”
As part of this initiative, Chief ‘Maseribane said officials from his ministry have already held meetings with some of the country’s top athletes through their national federation and the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC).

“We have already had meetings with some of our ambassadors through their national federation, and LNOC to discuss the implementation strategies in the mentioned programmes.”
‘Maseribane further said a Memorandum of Understanding had already been signed between Lesotho and South Africa and Lesotho and Wales to enhance the development of sport in the country.

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