Lehata’s Mauritius request turned down

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Mikia Kalati

THE Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) says Mosito Lehata’s request to return to his former training centre in Mauritius has been turned down.

LNOC and the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) in October this year said they were in talks over the possibility of the athlete returning to Mauritius as he was unhappy with his lack of progress at his base at the University of the Free State Sports Science Institute in South Africa.

The 29-year old had been on an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship programme in Mauritius since 2012 but switched to South Africa last year hoping to rediscover his best from training at the same centre along South African Olympic champion, Wade Van Niekerk.

However, LNOC chief executive officer Morake Raleaka told this publication that Lehata’s request has been turned down as he was the one who had initially asked to leave Mauritius saying he was unhappy with his former coach in that country.

The LNOC chief executive said that Lehata will remain under the Solidarity Scholarship but training at home under the watchful eye of Cuban coach Raynold Salas.

“Mosito was based in Mauritius but every time when we went for a major competition, something would happen and he would ultimately give unsatisfactory results,” Raleaka said.

“Every time we asked him, he would complain and we asked him to advise us what he thought was best for him.

“He then said he needed to change the coach and the only way was to get out of Mauritius and train with one of the best coaches in South Africa, Ans Botha, who also trains Van Niekerk.”

Raleaka said Botha liked Lehata and everything seemed ok after his move to the Free State until the sprinter requested to leave again. He however, said Botha also expressed worried that Lehata never complained to her.

“She told us that she was extremely disappointed that Lehata never complained to her. What Lehata told us since he came here in August last year was that the training he has been given here was not ideal.

“So, we were shocked to get a letter from LAAA that Lehata has requested to return to Mauritius. So, the first question for me was, why was Lehata taken out of Mauritius in the first place? There were reasons. The question is that: have those reasons which translated to problems been addressed so much that we can take the runner back there?

“Unfortunately, that could not happen and instead of having an emotional cat fight and looking like we are sabotaging him, we decided to get a psychological evaluation to take him through the journey as we already have one on board,” he said.

Raleaka also said they made an evaluation involving experts before making a decision and also realised that they could not afford to take Lehata back to Mauritius as he is not the only athlete in their Olympic Solidarity Scholarship.

He also stated that they are confident that the sprinter will return to his best form training in his home country and also inspiring young athletes to reach his heights.

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