Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association public relations officer, Sejanamane Maphathe, says it is “very worrying” that sprinter, Mosito Lehata, failed to even qualify for the semifinals of the 200-metre race at the on-going World Athletics Championships in China.
The 26-year-old medal-hopeful could only manage seventh-place in the qualifying heats on Tuesday, which was not good enough to secure him a place in the semis.
Lehata did not take part in the star-studded 100-metre race and the Lesotho Times could not immediately establish why he missed the event which was part of his tour.
“This is not like him because our expectations were very high as he went into this competition,” Maphathe said.
“I suspect his recent injuries could have played a part in his failure to make an impression in China, but I’m positive he will bounce back as age is still on his side.”
Mapathe said the fact that Lehata reached the semifinal of the 2013 edition of the same race had been the reason why the association expected him to at-least make it to that stage of the competition this year. The Mauritius-based athlete reached the final of the 200-metre race at last year’s Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, which Maphathe said had further heightened expectations that he would come good once again.
“We are yet to hear from him because we are also wondering why he did not take part in the 100-metre race,” said Maphathe.
“If it is because of injury, then it’s a big blow for the association as he is supposed to represent the country at next month’s All-Africa Games (scheduled for 4-19 September) in Brazzaville, Congo.
“We can only hope if he missed the 100-metre race because of injury, then it is not bad so that he can be on the track in the Congo.”
On the other hand, Maphathe said he was impressed by the performance of Lesotho’s other athlete at the world showcase, Tšepo Ramonene. The 23-year-old had a whirlwind start to his 42.195-kilometre race but ended the marathon in 14th place.
“We are happy with Ramonene’s performance as this was his first time competing at the World Championships,” Maphathe said.
“If you saw that race, he was among the front-runners at one stage, but in the end, could only manage 14th place which I feel is not that bad. There is room for him to improve and I believe he will do far much better at the All-Africa Games. He is going to fly from China to Brazzaville direct and like I said, I can foresee him doing better in this upcoming competition.”