We must recruit more athletes-Maphathe

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Moorosi Tsiane

THE performance of local athletes in Sunday’s Soweto Marathon is proof that the country must start planning for the future.

This was said by Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) public relations officer Sejanamane Maphathe after two female and three male Basotho athletes finished in the top 10 of the Soweto Marathon on Sunday.

In the female category Lineo Chaka (2:57:58) and Ntebaleng Letsela (3:00:40) finished eighth and 10th respectively.

Ramolefi Motsieloa (2:19:22) finished fifth while Lebenya Nkoka (2:19:36) finished sixth. Jobo Khatoane (2:20:53) came ninth in the male category.

Ethiopian Debeko Dakamo Dasa (2:18:35) won the male category while South African Irvette Van Zyl (2:34:01) won the female category for the fourth successive time. They each pocketed M250 000.

David Maru (2:18:48) of Kenya and Refera Merga Madesa (2:18:57) of Ethiopia came second and third in the male category. Ethiopians Selam Abere Alebachew (2:45:54) and Gadise Getachew (2:48:19) were second and third in the male category.

Maphathe said while local athletes’ performances were “not bad”, the race’s times have continued to improve and locals have struggled to match East Africans.

“They did their best and their performances were not bad at all considering the times recorded in past years,” Maphathe said.

“We have actually won the race registering similar times but the winning times have also improved and I think our athletes are struggling to keep up with the East Africans.

“There were times when we would dominate the top-five of the race and our athletes were now being scrutinised. Our last athlete to win the race was Tšepo Mathibelle in 2017 while Teboho Noosi finished third last year, so we are not that bad.”

Maphathe said it was however, time to start recruiting athletes who will take over from the current crop as most of them are ageing.

“We must recruit because most of our top athletes are now old and we need new faces. From those who ran last Sunday, I think it is only Mathibelle, Ramolefi and Khatoane who have competed in the race less than five times while the rest have been running in the competition for many years.

“Most are approaching 40 years so they have done their part and we must get new athletes.

“When we go into these races, we must send a huge pool of runners so that we bank on multiple athletes. If one struggles, there will still be who can do the job,” Maphathe said.

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