Seutloali speaks on Olympics preps

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Moorosi Tsiane

LONG distance runner Khoarahlana Seutloali says the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will give other athletes a lifeline in their quest to booking their spots in the multisport event.

The quadrennial games were in March this year postponed to July 2021due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Lesotho’s boxers and taekwondo athletes had already failed to qualify for the games at qualifiers held in Senegal and Morocco early this year.

However, the boxers still had one last shot at the qualifiers which were to be staged in Paris this month.

Seutloali had booked his place during last year’s Cape Town marathon becoming the first Mosotho athlete to qualify for the 2020 edition.

He said while some athletes were unhappy with the postponement of the Olympics, the postponement has afforded other athletes a second chance to try and qualify.

“I am not affected by the postponement but I know that some are extremely unhappy,” Seutloali said.

“However, there is nothing we can do about it. I am also happy that my compatriots will get another chance to try and qualify.”

Seutloali said he will also be using this time to prepare thoroughly for the games to ensure he would be fit by July 2020.

“I have started training after the lockdown rules were relaxed but I am taking it easy for now.”

He said he would leave no stone unturned to ensure that he would be fit.

“In the past, local athletes have being gone unprepared for the Olympics and that is why they always failed to excel.

“But I would like to change that, this will be my first experience and I want to make it the best one.

“There is lot of time for one to prepare for now and as much as we have not trained as we would have wanted during the lockdown, I will put the extended preparation time to good use.”

For now, Seutloali is still unsure how the funding from International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the National Olympic Committee’s will be disbursed to the athletes. He however, said he was grateful for the support.

The IOC has allocated more than $25 million to cover extra athlete and team costs related to the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.

The IOC says an extra $15 million will go to a programme helping 1 600 athletes from 185 poorly -funded countries to help them prepare for the games in 2021.

“It’s still not clear for us here on whether we will get the money to help us prepare for now but I would really appreciate getting that help because it is very expensive to prepare for a race and now that there is an extension it means the budget is also stretched,” Seutloali said.

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