LESOTHO’S gymnastics team finally received equipment to prepare for the 2020 African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games last Saturday.
However, this is too late given that the games start tomorrow and the team had only six days to train using it. The games are expected to end on 12 December.
The team only started using the equipment on Sunday and has been training at the Moshoeshoe II High School hall in Matsieng. All along, the team has been training without the equipment.
Coach, Mpho Phakisi, who is also the Lesotho Association of Gymnastics public relations officer, confirmed the arrival of the equipment to the Lesotho Times this week.
“The equipment finally arrived on Saturday and we set it up in Matsieng on Sunday and immediately allowed our athletes to start using the track,” Phakisi said.
The equipment includes inflatable tracks hired from the South African Gymnastics Federation, and tumbling mats purchased by the games’ local organising committee (LOC).
This is the first time for Lesotho gymnasts to train using a tumbling track and mats. They have been training on grass and concrete floors.
During the games, all teams will compete in tumbling gymnastics, a completely new discipline compared to what local gymnasts have been practicing over the years due to unavailability of equipment. They have been practicing aerobics and rhythmic gymnastics.
A fortnight ago, Phakisi expressed worries that delays in the arrival of the equipment would adversely affect his team’s performance as the gymnasts were likely to only use the proper equipment during the competitions.
Now that the equipment has arrived, albeit late, at least they will now get a chance to familiarise with it before the games.
“It is better now that the athletes will have been exposed to the proper equipment before the games but a week is not enough.”
Lesotho’s ladies’ team consists of Nelly Qhala, Boipaballo Matšoele, Felleng Potlaki and Malebaka ‘Moso while the males’ team is made up of Sekhoola Phate,
Tšolo Moletsane, Tlotlisang Motsamai and Teboho Matjeane.