Makae stuck in Switzerland

Makae stuck in Switzerland

MASERU-Lesotho cyclist Tumelo Makae is stuck in Switzerland after he was turned away at the airport in Geneva as he tried to board a flight back home.
Makae was travelling to South Africa en route to Lesotho; however, he was told he could not board the plane because no flights from countries heavily affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak are allowed to land at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

Makae is a member of the Sufferfest African Dream Team which is the only professional mountain bike team in Lesotho.
He moved to Switzerland in 2018 on a three-year Olympic scholarship in an effort to qualify for the Olympic Games which were set for Tokyo, Japan, in July.
Makae is based at the World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle, where he had been preparing for the Olympics but he failed in his bid to qualify in January.
The Games have since been postponed to 2021 because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic which, as of Tuesday, had confirmed cases in more than 190 countries and more than 400 000 people infected.

Makae is the only African cyclist left at the WCC.
The only other cyclists left with Makae are from South American countries.
Speaking to thepost on Monday, African Dream Team manager Mark West said he is in regular contact with Makae to keep tabs on how he is doing. West said Makae is being well taken care of.
West said he is not worried about Makae catching the virus as the people around him have not shown any symptoms of COVID-19.

“He is doing well, we are in regular contact with him, I spoke to him even this morning, he is fine (and) he is still training,” West said on Tuesday.
“He is not the only one left (at the WCC); there are riders from other countries as well. We are not worried because the centre has good health care and no one around him has shown any symptoms. The only thing that might happen is he may not be able to train if the (Switzerland) government orders a total lockdown due this outbreak,” West added.
The WCC also houses the headquarters of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and is a renowned elite coaching and training facility. It contains a 200 metre indoor velodrome track, a BMX bicycle racing track and was built in 2002 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the UCI.

As of Monday, Switzerland had 8,547 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Makae is not the only Lesotho athlete in Europe.
Lesotho has two taekwondo players, Marumo Moloisane and Michelle Tau, in Germany. As of Tuesday, Germany had almost 30,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, Minister of Sports Dr Mahali Phamotse said the ministry tried to bring the athletes back to Lesotho but was unable to do so.
However, the minister said the duo is also in good care. Phamotse was speaking before the Olympic Games were officially postponed and she said the ministry’s preparations for the Olympics had been halted.
A new date for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo is yet to be confirmed.

Tlalane Phahla

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