Olympic Solidarity extends athletes’ scholarships

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Leemisa Thuseho

THE Olympic Solidarity has extended scholarships of athletes who are beneficiaries of its training programmes to 2021.

The athletes were training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that have now been postponed to next year.

The move was confirmed by a recent statement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes Commission.

All the athletes who had already qualified for the Olympics will not need to go through another qualification round next year as their quota of places remain secured. Age restrictions will be discussed later to allow for necessary adaptions.

The development came on the back of the recent postponement of the Olympics to next year due to the global outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19).

The Athletes Commission chairperson in the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) Moholo Lekomola told the Lesotho Times that they are happy with the IOC resolutions. He said the resolutions take into cognisance their recent requests to the IOC through the international athletes’ commission. He said they had already communicated the resolutions to the athletes.

“On behalf of Lesotho athletes, we support the resolutions and soon after the news was revealed by the IOC athletes commission, I informed the athletes,” Lekomola said.

Lekomola has earlier told this publication of their desire to have athletes who are in different sponsorship programmes being financially sponsored until the Olympics are finally held.

He said they also wanted the qualified athletes to be assisted with individual training equipment, remote personal trainers and financial support to sustain their respective diets.

Lesotho has six athletes who are under four-year Olympic Solidarity scholarships. The six athletes are Moroke Mokhotho (boxing), Tumelo Makae (cycling), Marumo Moloisane (Taekwondo), Mosito Lehata, Lerato Sechele and Tšepang Sello (all from athletics).

The scholarships started in 2017 and were to end in August this year.

So far, only one Lesotho athlete has qualified for the Olympics namely Seutloali Khoarahlane.

LNOC high-performance coordinator Likeleko Lepitla told the Lesotho Times that after the scholarships extension, there will be no changes in athletes’ placement for their preparation. Some athletes are based in Lesotho while others are placed outside the country.

Other athletes are being supported by the LNOC outside the Olympic solidarity programme in preparing for the games. However, the LNOC is yet to decide the way forward for the athletes.

 

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