MASERU — Lesotho won five gold, two silver and four bronze medals at the Southern Region Junior Championships held in Mozambique last weekend.
Mannini Pitso scooped gold in the 3 000m and 5 000m races, with Jobo Khatoane also claiming as many gold medals in 5 000m and 10 000m races.
Tsepo Kotsokoane won the other gold for Lesotho after sprinting to victory in the 100m race.
Mpho Moeti and Liteboho Makhatseane won silver in the 5 000m and 1 500m races respectively.
Makhatseane claimed bronze in the 800m race, with Metsi Mofolo (5 000m) and Rethabile Molefi (10 000) also settling for the same colour.
Lesotho’s other bronze medal came from the 4x400m relay team of Relebohile Mosito, Fusi Moleeane, Kabelo Lesia and Lebeko Matsaba.
Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association spokesperson Sejanamane Maphathe said the country’s performance in Mozambique was an encouraging sign ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.
“This is the first time in our history that a local sprinter beat other athletes and won a gold medal in a regional competition,” Maphathe told the Lesotho Times.
“It is really a sign that there is light at the end of the tunnel at last.”
Maphathe said the association was using this team to prepare for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“We are preparing ourselves for the 2012 Olympic Games and we are hopeful that with this kind of performance we will bring gold from these games for the first time,” he said.
“They will be seniors by then and with this type of mentality and development procedures they will definitely win a medal.”
Lesotho started participating in the Olympic Games in 1972 but has never won a medal.