Lesotho likely to miss Belgrade trip

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Leemisa Thuseho

THE national boxing team’s trip to Belgrade, Serbia for the 2021 Men’s Boxing World Championships is hanging in the balance due to financial challenges.

The event will run from 26 October to 6 November 2021.

Although the dates are less than two months away, the Lesotho Boxing Association (LeBA) is still uncertain whether or not the country will be represented due to financial challenges.

LeBA public relations officer, Rethabile Mohale, told the Lesotho Times this week that they are eager to send the team to Belgrade but they do not have any finances.

Their last hope for assistance is the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) and the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) although they are yet to submit their requests.

“Our wish is to send some boxers to that event but the challenge is the lack of finances,” Mohale said.

“We are yet to approach the LSRC and the LNOC but we are not sure if they will help. The international boxing body, AIBA, is not giving us anything for this event, so we will depend on the local bodies.”

For now, without finances, it is difficult to start preparing due to the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions where all contact sports are currently suspended.

Apart from the senior team, Mohale said they are also facing challenges with the Under-20 team which is supposed to be preparing for the African union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games to be held in Maseru in December.

The Under-20 team’s preparations have also stalled because of the lack of finances.

Meanwhile, the LSRC has already announced that it is also facing financial challenges.

The commission said this when they turned down the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL’s) request for finances to pay for its trip to the World Athletics Under-20 Championships held in Kenya last month. Lesotho therefore, failed to make it to the event.

As for the team selection, Mohale said they are considering two boxers, Moroke Mokhotho and Arena Pakela who are still fit having been recently busy preparing for Olympics qualifying competitions. The duo however, failed to qualify for the Olympics.

“They spent six weeks camping in Zambia. Although they failed to qualify, they are still fit and are also training on their own.”

Local boxers were last in action in February last year during the African Championships in Senegal.

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