Mohapi, Leuta qualify for World Pump Track championships
MOSITO Mohapi and Khothalang Leuta on Saturday booked their spots at the UCI Red Bull Pump Track finals at the Lesotho qualifiers in Roma.
This year’s edition will be held on 5 September 2020 in Leogan, Austria.
The Saturday event was graced by Gender and Youth, Sport and Recreation minister Mahali Phamotse.
Mohapi, who will be making his second appearance at the world finals after his debut in Switzerland last year, clocked 18:26 seconds to successfully defend his title while Leuta clocked 20:56 to claim the crown in the female category.
The usual suspects all finished in the top three with Kopano Matobo coming second and Molefi Ntoko in third. In the female category, Leuta beat Lieketseng Ralefifi in the final while Likopo Mahleke came third.
The duo will compete against riders across the world from the total of 30 qualifiers.
The race started with two laps with the best advancing to the next stage.
Pairs or riders were then assembled for the quarter-finals to choose the semi-finalists.
Local male riders dominated the race which also attracted participants from Cape Town and Pietmaritzburg while the female category. The female category had all-Basotho riders.
The trio was joined by debutant Karabelo Mohapi in an all-Lesotho semi-final.
An elated Mohapi told the Lesotho Times that he was determined to build on last year’s experiences.
“I am happy with my performance because I have improved a lot this year and I intend to do even more,” Mohapi said.
“Last year, I didn’t do too well but I have learnt a lot and I am to perform better. I also have a new lighter bike and that a huge advantage.”
He said he would however, need to train hard to improve his times.
“Last year I realised that I needed to improve my times. I clocked 19 seconds then and now I have recorded 18 seconds.”
For her part, Leuta said she was also pleased with her performance.
“I think it all comes with passion because after failing to qualify last year, I didn’t give up and it has worked for me.
“Now the qualifiers are done, the focus shifts to the main event, so I must continue working hard because I know it is not going to be easy,” Leuta said.
She however, said her challenge remains lack of competition among local females.
“There is so little competition locally and that is a challenge because I know that riders in other countries are so fast. That means I must improve my times and cannot relax,” Leuta said.