Lehata fine-tunes at Germany meeting

Lehata fine-tunes at Germany meeting

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

Lesotho’s premier sprinter Mosito Lehata will continue his preparations for the Rio Olympic Games at the EllwangenSparkassen-Meeting in Germany on Saturday.

2016 is a big year for Lehata.

Next month he is due to compete at the 20th Africa Senior Championships set for Durban, South Africa from June 22 to 26 before travelling to Brazil in August for the world’s biggest sporting event.

This weekend’s trip to Germany, therefore, is the next step as the 100 and 200 metres specialist begins to fine-tune his build-up to Rio.

Speaking to thepost on Monday, Lehata said he will only run in the 100 metres on Saturday.

He said the Ellwangen meet, which will feature top international competition, will provide mental preparation and an opportunity to correct mistakes in the shorter sprint.

Bettering his 100 metres personal best and national record time of 10.11 seconds set last April in Mauritius is also a target, Lehata added.

“I am competing on Saturday in Ellwangen, Germany; it’s part of my preparations for Rio. I just want to get myself ready mentally and also correct a few mistakes before the Olympics. Breaking all my records, that’s our aim,” he said.

Lehata revealed he has a full schedule ahead.

After Saturday’s race he will return to work to prepare for two more events in Europe, the  55th Ostrava Golden Spike meeting in the Czech Republic on May 26 and the Meeting International de Forbach Porte de France on May 29.

Lehata said the races fall under a set programme with his coach Stephane Buckland of Mauritius not only intended to help reach his peak condition, but to keep the sprinter fresh ahead of Rio.

As a result, Lehata, whose international standing has risen over the past two years, said he is likely to decline several events in the lead up to the Olympic Games.

“I have a lot of invitations (that are) tempting I must admit, but unfortunately I will have to cancel some of the races I am invited to. I have a target set with my coach and once we nail it, we will stop competing and start camping for the Olympic Games,” he said.

Last month Lehata was tipped to shine in Rio by Lesotho’s most successful athlete, Thabiso Moqhali. Lehata said the vote of confidence will serve as motivation instead of pressure to replicate Moqhali’s success.

Moqhali remains the only Lesotho athlete to claim gold at an international athletics championship when he won the marathon at the 1999 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Of Moqhali’s praise, Lehata said: “No, not at all, it doesn’t put me under pressure but motivates me.”

The Mauritius based athlete has been under the Olympic Solidarity programme since 2011. The programme was designed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to help developing countries such as Lesotho develop and prepare athletes for the Olympics.

Lehata is one of five local athletes under the programme.

The others are triple and long jump prospect Lerato Sechele, swimmer Ntšekhe Setho and boxers Nkululeko Suntele and Moroke Mokhotho.

So far Lehata, Suntele and Mokhotho have their booked spots at the Rio Olympics.

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