Lifeline for boxer Mokhotho

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Mikia Kalati

BOXING sensation Moroke Mokhotho has been handed a lifeline after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently reactivated his Olympic Solidarity scholarship which was frozen four months ago.

The scholarship was frozen after a dispute between the IOC and the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

However, despite the lifeline, the fall-out between IOC and IABA is far from over with the Olympic mother body still having concerns over the boxing mother body.

The areas of concern are in governance, ethics and financial management. The IOC has since initiated an enquiry to make further investigations, which could result in a withdrawal of recognition of AIBA as an international federation.

Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) secretary general Morake Raleaka confirmed to the Lesotho Times that Moroke’s scholarship has been reactivated and the boxer is back in training.

“Basically, the challenge was between AIBA and IOC and it’s still ongoing,” Raleaka said.

“There was a time I think IOC decided to freeze everything so, we challenged the IOC to say their principles say anything and everything can happen as long as the athletes don’t become victims.

“We told them that we saw them as the ones who are victimising the athletes and it is wrong.

“It got to a point where IOC had to review their decision and its then that the scholarships were reactivated. Indeed, they got back to us now in January and lifted the suspension.”

Raleaka said due to the ongoing feud, the athletes under the IOC scholarships will now get funds through the Olympic committees.

He admitted that the suspension was going to affect the athletes negatively had the OIC not heard their request to lift it.

Mokhotho is among six local athletes under the Olympic scholarship including Lerato Sechele, Mosito Lehata and Tšepang Sello. The scholarship will help the athletes prepare for the 2020 Olympics scheduled for Tokyo.

Raleaka also stated that the LNOC has since designed its own scholarship and added five more athletes including long distance runner Motlokoa Nkhabutlane as well as 2016 and 2018 Region 5 gold medalist, Manqabang Tsibela among others to undergo similar training programmes.

For his part, Mokhotho, who was part of team Lesotho at the 2014 Olympics in Brazil, said that his training had taken a huge knock without the sponsorship.

“I’m very excited that the scholarship has been reactivated as I was struggling to get to training and accessing some of the equipment which I need for my training.

“I’m very excited that things are back on track and the suspension has been uplifted. The whole episode had affected me badly as I was struggling to get transport to my training. Now I’m working hard again and I am focused on the 2020 Olympics as well as getting a medal there,” Mokhotho said.

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