Last Olympic chance for marathon runners

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Mikia Kalati

Six long-distance runners will take part in Sunday’s Durban City Marathon aware this would be their last chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games set for  Brazil later this year.

The male contingent of Jobo Khatooane, Tšepang Ramonene and Raletebele Sotho has been presented with their last chance to qualify for the August showcase in Sunday’s South African race, and so have their female counterparts, Moleboheng Mafata, Lineo Chaka and Makampong Letsie.

Tšepo Mathibelle and Lebenya Nkoka are the only local marathoners who have qualified for the Games alongside sprinter Mosito Lehata.

But according to Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association public relations officer, Sejanamane Maphathe, the weekend race is the last chance for the six runners to make it to the global Games set for Rio de Janeiro.

“This is the last chance for the marathon runners to be part of our team for the Olympics,” Maphathe said this week.

“This is also a chance for us to have a bigger team so we are hopeful that they will succeed in Durban.”

Maphathe further said for the male runners, they must clock two hours and 19 minutes to qualify for the Games while two hours and 25 minutes is the qualifying time for the ladies.

“In our ladies team, we have Moleboheng Mafata, Lineo Chaka and Makampong Letsie who have a big responsibility of qualifying for the Olympics,” said Maphathe.

“In the male team, there is Jobo Khatooane, Tšepang Ramonene and Raletebele Sotho, who have an equally important responsibility of making it to the Games.

“All these runners have been working very hard and I am sure they will give their best in Durban because of what is at stake.”

However, Maphathe said there is still time for track-and-field athletes to make it to Rio.

“One of the competitions still available for our track-and-field athletes is the African Senior Championship to be held in South Africa in July. There will also be a few more competitions for them to qualify.”

Maphathe also said the association was still hopeful Senegal-based triple and long jumper, Lerato Sechele, would make it to Brazil.

“Lerato will battle for an Olympic place in Europe next month as well as another competition in Dakar where she is based.

“We believe in her abilities and are confident she will make it.”

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