Team Lesotho won nine medals in last weekend’s South African Open Athletics Championship held in Potchefstroom.
According to Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association public relations officer, Sejanamane Maphathe, the country sent a 12-member team to the championship and brought home three gold, two bronze and four silver medals.
However, Maphathe said despite clinching the medals, none of the athletes attained qualifying standards for the 15th World Championships in Athletics to be held from 22–30 August in Beijing, China.
“The competition was very tough as we battled top athletes from the host country, South Africa, as well as Botswana, and Zimbabwe,” Maphathe said.
“We took a very young team to the championship and some of them were competing outside the country for the first time, which is why I believe they did fairly well to come home with those medals.”
Maphathe further said the association was hoping to take the athletes to another competition next month in Germiston, South Africa, as well as the Botswana National Athletics Championships.
“Unfortunately, we only managed to take 12 athletes to South Africa last weekend due to financial constraints. Initially, the plan was to go with 19 runners, but we failed due to funding as I have mentioned,” said Maphathe.
“The bigger picture is to prepare the athletes for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics since age is on their side because the oldest in the group is 23.
“I believe with more competitions at this level, these athlete will improve and follow in the footsteps household names such as Mosito Lehata and Lerato Sechele.”
Meanwhile, Maphathe said he was impressed by the likes of Limakatso Selala, Tšepang Sello, Thakane Maphoho, Tšepo Ramashamole, Kabelo Lesia and Mathapelo Molapo in Potchefstroom.
“These young athletes gave a good performance in Potchefstroom and they will get better with time and by taking part in bigger competitions,” said Maphathe.