THE Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) on Friday handed over 150 food parcels and 1000 masks to athletes to cushion them from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The food parcels and masks worth a collective M100 000, were handed over to the beneficiaries at the LNOC’s offices in Maseru West.
The 150 athletes who benefited from the relief fund were drawn for the 30 national sport federations who are affiliated to the LNOC.
LNOC acting chief executive officer ‘Mathato Makhorole said the donations were inspired by the knowledge that athletes were struggling to make ends meet during the Covid-19 lockdowns where they cannot compete in competitions.
The project was funded by the Associations of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA).
“Last year we asked for the relief fund from ANOCA as we wanted to help our athletes during the lockdowns when they are unable to earn money,” Makhorole said.
“Five athletes from each of the 30 affiliates received the food parcels and personal protective equipment (PPE). The PPE is being given to all athletes including those who may not necessarily have received food parcels.”
She said the LNOC received M350 000 from ANOCA and the balance of the money will be used to assist the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) and the Lesotho Boxing Association (LeBA) in preparing their teams for the Tokyo Olympics.
“Out of the M350 000, we have M100 000 that was specifically meant for athletics and boxing to prepare for Olympics. However, boxing has failed to qualify for the Olympics and we have already asked ANOCA if we can take that boxing share and use it in other sporting codes,” Makhorole said.
On behalf of the athletes, Paul Mari from rugby association applauded the LNOC for the effort.
“We are very happy with what the LNOC has done because sportspersons are struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope to see more such efforts,” Mari said.
For her part, LNOC president ‘Matlohang Moiloa Ramoqopo said it was his committee’s responsibility to ensure that athletes are protected and their lives are improved despite the Covid-19 challenges.
“The LNOC is mostly known for preparing for the Olympics but one of our major responsibilities is to improve people’s lives using sport. During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, our task is to ensure that our athletes are taken care of and they are protected,” Ramoqopo said.
She said the LNOC was working hard to ensure Lesotho is well-represented at the Olympics to restore the nation’s hope that there will still be life after the Covid-19 pandemic.