Motlojoa lives up to expectations

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Mikia Kalati

LESOTHO tennis golden boy Nyathi Motlojoa overcame examination stress to win Lesotho’s first medal at the ongoing African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games in Botswana.

The 18-year-old headed to the courts hours after sitting for an examination in the wee hours of Monday.

Motlojoa, who is on an academic and tennis scholarship in the United States of America at Seward Country Community College in Kansas, defeated Bruno Nhavene of Mozambique over two sets to scoop the bronze medal.

The Lesotho star recovered from a semi-final loss to South African Robbie Arends and admitted that it was not easy for him to focus on his games while he had an examination waiting for him.

He defeated James Kaoma (6-3, 6-1) and Tsepo Mosarwa (6-3, 7-5) of Zambia and Botswana respectively to get to the final.

He eventually settled for bronze coming after Zimbabwe’s Mehluli Sibanda (gold) and South African Arends (silver).

“I’m very happy that I have won a medal for my country and I’m also satisfied with my performance at the games,” Motlojoa said.

“I was coming back from school overseas, where it was cold and coming to a country that is very hot so that climatic difference has a huge impact especially when the competition is tough.

“I hope I have made my country proud with that performance.”

The teenage sensation admitted that he had to dig deep to beat the Mozambican having written online examinations from midnight on Sunday and finishing in the wee hours of Monday.

“It’s another thing that made it very difficult for me in the bronze medal play-off. I had two final exams from 12am until 4am on Monday so I only slept for two and half hours and had to push myself hard during the match.

“I’m very happy and proud that I won the first medal for my country at the games and to also motivate those younger than me that anything is possible.

“When you work hard and determined, you will get everything you wish for,” Motlojoa said.

Motlojoa said his eyes are on continuing to perform at big stages and qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games in Seoul.

The tennis star also said that being based in the US where the sport is popular has helped him shape his career.

“I’m now looking at the Olympics. It’s not easy to get there but having won a medal here shows that anything is possible.

“But my eyes are on the 2020 Olympics in Seoul and the following edition.

“Being in the US has helped me a lot because I find myself among a mix of top players. We have players from different countries and it also helps me to get used to different cultures.

“I think it’s also helping me grow as a person,” Motlojoa said.

The female duo of Kekeletso Moseme and Manyama Maisa however, failed to emulate Motlojoa losing their third-place play-off in the double to Zimbabwean opponents.

In other sporting codes, Lesotho finally ended their poor run in netball registering their first win against Botswana in their fifth match of the competition.

Munyaradzi Shanduka’s side registered a 59-51 victory over the host country for their first win.

They continued on a winning tip on Tuesday morning beating Namibia 52-50.

Manqabang Tsibela on Tuesday also a bronze medal in the 1500m marathon.

Phomolo Lengola also won in the 56kg of boxing which got underway on Monday while Mokete Lehoko lost in the 52kg category.

The ladies’ soccer team ended the competitions without a point after three heavy defeats going down to Zimbabwe 3-0 in the first match, 6-1 to Malawi in the second game and an emphatic 6-0 to Botswana yesterday.

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