Youth games preps delayed
THE Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) has blamed government delays in releasing funds for the poor preparations next month’s Commonwealth youth games in the Bahamas.
LNOC public relations officer, Moshoeshoe Molapo this week told the Lesotho Times that the team made up of six athletes from the boxing, athletics, tennis and cycling disciplines only started an intensive training programme on Sunday.
He said they had to seek help from international partners for funds to send the team to the games which get underway on 19 to 23 July.
“The athletes only started an intensive programme on Sunday due to the problems that we all know,” Molapo said, adding, “the disruptions were brought by the (3 June) snap elections and the budgets for the (sports) associations were not approved”.
“The ministry of sports was not able to assist us in preparing the team and facilitating the trip to the Bahamas.
“Initially we had eight athletes but the team has been reduced to six after cycling and tennis withdrew one athlete each from the two they had provided us.
“We had also arranged for each sporting code to have its own coach but that is no longer the case as the number of athletes determines the number of officials that should be in the team.
“Now that cycling and tennis have just one athlete each that also means that they no longer have a coach.”
He however, said they were not reading too much into the shambolic preparations since the games were not so much about winning as they were about preparing the young athletes for the future.
“This is why even making the team for the competition is not about qualification but hand picking the athletes on the information we get from their receptive federations.
“Qualification does not matter at this stage and we also request the association to give us profiles to justify the selection of athletes.
“The games are for athletes under the age of 17 and the platform is for them to further their development in preparation for the future,” he said.