Taking Sechele to Senegal was a mistake

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Lerato Sechele
Lerato Sechele

Mikia Kalati

Triple-jumper, Lerato Sechele, was among five athletes awarded scholarships by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) in 2014. The move was meant to help them qualify for the Olympics to be held in Brazil next month.

Sechele and swimmer Ntšekhe Setho are two of the five athletes who have failed to qualify for the Games scheduled for Rio de Janeiro from 5-21 August.

While I applaud the LNOC for coming up with these scholarship, I really feel they made the wrong choice by sending Sechele to Senegal.

There are many countries which specialise in athletics and could have helped Sechele improve her performance and Senegal is certainly not among those nations.

The Senegalese are known as a football powerhouse which is why I was surprised to hear that Sechele was going to camp in that country with the hope of making her a better athlete.

I am not surprised Sechele’s performance has dropped instead of improving, since she went to West African nation.

This girl was in top form prior to going to Senegal and won a gold medal at the 2011 African Union Sports Council Games to confirm her pedigree.

But her failure to qualify for the Olympics says it all—that this was a bad move which should be rectified as soon as possible because at 22 years of age, she still has a lot to offer provided she is in the right country for the development.

The fact that the LNOC even decided against flying the athlete for the African Senior Championship held in Durban, South Africa last month, to further give her an opportunity to qualify, is proof that the association is very disappointed with her. And that is why she should be moved from Senegal as a matter of urgency to save her sinking career.

I still feel even Mosito Lehata could have become a far better sprinter  had he been sent to a country like Jamaica or the United States of America instead of Mauritius where he has been based for the past five years of so. We all know that Jamaica and the US have the best sprinters and Lehata could have certainly benefitted from these countries’ expertise had been camping there for as long as he has been in Mauritius.

If taking him to these two countries was going to be too expensive for Lesotho, then South Africa was going to be a better option as their athletes have been doing well on the international stage.

This is why Botswana, who are also doing well in field events, have placed some of their athletes in South African high-performance centres.

Athletics’ new kid-on-the-block, Nomankoe Nkhasi, is based in South Africa and is proof of what I have just said.

The 22-year-old won bronze at the continental championship held last month in Durban to also book a place at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Like I said, sending Sechele to Senegal was a huge mistake which should be rectified as a matter of urgency. But all in all, the scholarships idea was noble as it helps our athletes become better.

With that said, I would like to wish Makoanyane XI the best of luck when they play South Africa at Setsoto stadium this Sunday.

This will surely be a big test for the team as they battle to qualify for the 2017 Africa under-20 Cup of Nations. A total of eight teams will play in the final tournament to be hosted by Zambia from 26 February to 12 March 2017 and hopefully, Lesotho will prevail over South Africa as this is the final fixture of the qualification campaign.

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