THE annual High-Altitude Summer Marathon (HASM) will not be staged this year due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) has said.
Lesotho’s biggest race is held in Mokhotlong every first week of December.
LSRC acting chief executive officer Teboho Malataliana said they have even removed the event from their budget.
“I don’t see the event taking place this year… it has even removed from our budget for this year,” Malataliana said.
He said the reason for the cancellation is the Covid-19 which has already forced cancellation and postponement of several other sporting events in the country and across the world.
“The Covid-19 situation is not getting any better and we decided to cancel the event.”
He said they have already communicated their decision the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation.
“This is one of the events that are sponsored by the ministry, so we are just waiting for the ministry’s official response as per our advice to cancel… then we will be able to formally tell our stakeholders on the way forward,” Malataliana said.
The race’s reigning champion is Lesotho’s long-distance veteran Lebenya Nkoka in the males 42 km category. In females category, the 42km race was won by Monicar Mengich from Kenya.
Lesotho’s Letseka Sekonyela and ‘Neheng Khatala are the reigning champions in the males and females’ 21km category respectively.
Meanwhile, this is not the only events LSRC will miss this year. Some of the cancelled events include the annual Queen ‘Mamohato Half Marathon and Horse Racing that were to be held in Mafeteng. These events were scheduled for February this year but were cancelled due to financial challenges.
The LSRC has also failed to host the Lesotho Annual Sport Awards (LASA) that were to be held in April. The awards are also financed by the ministry.
The commission failed to host the awards this year because it was yet to remit the prizes for the 2019 edition.