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Marathoners cry foul over delayed payments 

by Lesotho Times
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Leemisa Thuseho 

MARATHONERS are crying foul after weeks of non-payment for their effort in the Bochelatsane Marathon. 

The marathon was held at Mantṧonyane in Thaba-Tseka on 17 March 2024. 

It has been over a month now but the top performers of the marathon are still waiting for their prize money to reflect in their bank accounts. 

The race was sponsored by the SAM Matekane Foundation (SMF) to the tune of M400 000. 

The event consisted of three categories, 21.1km, 10km and 5km for both men and women. 

Amongst the top performers were Jobo Khatoane who won the men’s 21km with 1:02:13 while ‘Mathakane Letsie, won the women’s category with 1:24:30. 

The 10km male category was won by Kamohelo Mofolo, clocking in at 37:27 while in the women’s category the winner was Nthabiseng Letokoto, crossing the finish line in 50:19. 

The first prize for 21.1km in both male and female’s categories is M25 000 while in 10km the prize for winners is M16 000 for both genders. 

Winners in 5km males and females’ races are expected to be blessed with M2 500 each. 

There were also prizes for athletes who finished in the top ten for each race category. 

Speaking to the Lesotho Times anonymously this week for fear of reprisals, one of the athletes confirmed that they were still waiting for their funds. 

“We are still waiting, and this is sad because we are always being promised that the funds will soon reflect into our accounts, but that days and weeks keep on passing,” said the concerned athlete. 

“After being referred to the sponsor by the association, the sponsor told us that the money would start reflecting last week, but even today nothing has happened. We are very concerned about what is going on with our money.” 

The athlete said this is very sad because sport was their way of earning a living. The athlete said they deserved to get their prize money. 

“The athletes are not happy at all. They honoured the race and thus deserve to be paid. We do not have to fight for what we have worked and sweated for. There is nowhere else athletes can earn a living except from these races,” the source said. 

“We have responsibilities like anyone else.” 

Another athlete shared similar sentiments, indicating that this was demoralising especially on young athletes. 

“This is very demoralising. To compete in the race we pay registration fees but when we have to get what we worked for, it becomes a challenge.” 

The Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) president, Tṧeliso Pheta, alleged one of the major challenges was the delay caused by other athletes who failed to submit all the required documents – including banking details – for the funds to be processed. 

“What I have established is that some of the athletes delayed submitting their bank accounts. They caused the delay themselves,” Pheta said. 

Initially, attempts to solicit a comment from Baba Malephane from SMF, who was the coordinator between the sponsor and the federations, almost proved fruitless as his mobile went unanswered for hours.  

However, when Malephane eventually picked our call late on Tuesday night, he was reluctant to comment on the issue. He simply said that there was “nothing official to say at the moment”.  

“There is nothing official I can give you now. I don’t want to say things are like this, only to find that the money has already started reflecting in athletes’ bank accounts,” Malephane said.   

The Mantṧonyane marathon, was held along with the Bocheletsane Cycling Classic, still on 17 March 2024. SMF sponsored the cycling event with M200 000. 

This publication has been informed that even in the cycling event, the cyclists are yet to get their prize money.  

 

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