THE men’s senior national weightlifting team has started its training camp ahead of the upcoming 2021 African Senior Weightlifting Qualification Championships next month.
The qualifying championships are penned in for 1 to 8 April in Antananarivo, Madagascar. They will be used as a qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics which are penned in for July and August this year. This after they were postponed last year on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The team started its camp on Sunday and coach Relebohile Motjamela said the team will be in camp until the day before its departure to Madagascar.
According to Motjamela, they are planning to leave Lesotho on 31 March.
Since only two athletes will be travelling to Madagascar, Motjamela said he has only two senior weightlifters namely; Thepelo Sebota and Machachamise Ntšinyi.
“We have already started our camp and I am only taking Sebota and Ntšinyi who will be going to Madagascar,” Motjamela said.
“We are planning to leave the country on 31 March and that means the boys will be in camp until then.”
The duo has been inactive for the whole of last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the athletes are working hard in training, their long dormancy is posing a challenge. He however, said their biggest challenge is the limited time before the championship.
Although sporting activities remain suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions, teams that are preparing for the Olympics were earlier this month given a greenlight to start preparing.
This is the last opportunity for Lesotho weightlifters to fight for spots in the Olympics at continental level. However, Motjamela said there would still be some qualifying events outside Africa which will be extremely expensive to attend for locals.
During the lockdowns, he was working with the weightlifters remotely whom he had given training schedules while monitoring their progress.
No Lesotho weightlifter has ever qualified for the Olympics but Motjamela is hopeful that this could be the time.