LAAA shifts focus to 2019  World Championships

LAAA shifts focus to 2019 World Championships

Maseru – The Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) is already mapping a way forward from the country’s disappointing showing at the on-going IAAF World Championships in London according to public relations officer Sejanamane Maphathe. Lesotho was represented by three athletes — Lebenya Nkoka, Tšepo Mathibelle and Mosito Lehata — at the championships.
Both Nkoka and Mathibelle did not finish their marathon races while Lehata was disqualified in the 100 metres for a false start.
Maphathe said although the LAAA expected more, there is no point crying over spilt milk.

He said the focus is now on the 2019 World Championships to be held in Doha, Qatar. “We were not expecting the performance we saw (in London) but what can we do? We have to move forward from here and deal with it. Our athletes didn’t do well at all. There are no results (but) we just have to deal with it,” Mapathe said.
He added: “Tšepo was one or two kilometres from the finish line when he experienced difficulties and was rushed to see a medical specialist. Lebenya, too, started brightly and he was doing well until he experienced health issues and couldn’t finish the race. As for Mosito, he was disqualified for a false start.”

Lehata, the national record holder in the 100 and 200 metres, received harsh criticism on social media from disappointed Basotho who said the sprinter should have done better.
However, Maphathe defended the 2012 and 2016 Olympian. “(Lehata) is not the only one who was disqualified from the race,” he said.
“From what I hear, the person who was counting (down for the runners ahead of the race) was too slow and the athletes were not aware of his way of counting.”
With the London games in the rear-view mirror, Maphathe said the LAAA will immediately begin its preparations for the next championships in 2019.
However, he bemoaned a lack of funding which he said always hampers the association’s plans.

“We need to have more athletes qualified and competing in Doha, say at least 10 or 15. That means even if one athlete doesn’t do well at least we can still look forward to others. But if we only have three and those three don’t do well we even lose interest in watching (the championships) further. But, to prepare we need funds,” Mapathe said

Luciah Phahla

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