Mokhothu wishes Team Lesotho ‘good luck’

Mokhothu wishes Team Lesotho ‘good luck’

Luciah Phahla

Maseru

Minister of Gender, Youth, and Sport and Recreation Mathibeli Mokhothu has wished Team Lesotho luck for next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Mokhothu was speaking at a press conference on Monday where the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) officially announced the team to represent the country at Rio 2016.

Eight athletes will comprise Team Lesotho at this year’s Olympics, four more than at London 2012.

The line-up is headlined by sprinter Mosito Lehata who won silver in the 100 metres at last month’s Africa Senior Championships.

Also on the plane to Brazil are track athletes Nomakoe Nkhasi and Tšepang Sello, marathon runners Tšepo Mathibelle and Lebenya Nkoka, boxers Inkululeko Suntele and Moroke Mokhotho, and cyclist Phetetso Monese.

Mokhothu urged the athletes to work hard and represent the country with pride.

“I would like to wish all the athletes best of luck in Rio. I am confident that they will represent the country well. The preparation for these Games did not start now and I want to congratulate the associations and LNOC for a job well done in preparing these athletes,” the minister said.

Mokhothu continued: “Love for one’s country is shown in these kinds of games where one is against international countries. To represent your country is an honour and you are a hero.”

Unlike in previous years, there will be no send off for the athletes because the majority are finalising preparations abroad.

Lehata has been based in Mauritius for the past four years, boxers Suntele and Mokhotho are in Cuba, Mathibelle is in Kenya, Monese is competing in the Swiss Alps and the track pair of Nkhasi and Sello is in South Africa.

Only Nkoka, who is training in Leribe, is in Lesotho.

The minister urged the country to show unconditional support for the athletes.

“I am pleading with the nation to show support for our athletes in Brazil. We still have a long way to go as a country in terms of sports and I urge you to welcome them back home regardless of how they will perform in Brazil,” Mokhothu pleaded.

Mokhothu also revealed the sports ministry has backed the final preparations and trip to Rio to the tune of M5.5 million.

The minister appealed to the private sector to help by investing in sports.

“Let’s not only focus on results, let’s focus on growing sports in the country,” Mokhothu said. “There are so many companies that are not investing in the country but are here to make money, that’s all. They are investing lots of money in other countries but none to us.”

Three of the competitors going to Rio – Lehata, Mokhotho and Suntele – were among five Lesotho athletes placed under the Olympic Solidarity programme by LNOC in 2012.

Only two – triple jumper Lerato Sechele and swimmer Ntšekhe Setho – didn’t make the cut for the Olympics.

LNOC chief executive officer Morake Raleaka labelled the International Olympic Committee sponsored programme a success.

“I don’t think it’s a failure on our side to have three athletes among five that were under the scholarship going to the Olympics. It’s an achievement. For the two that did not qualify, we will study what went wrong and learn the challenges and take it from there,” Raleaka said.

Lesotho will not only be sending athletes to Brazil.

Lesotho Taekwondo Association president Moshoeshoe Molapo has been chosen as one of the officials for the taekwondo tournament.

Molapo is one of only three qualified taekwondo referees in Africa and Team Lesotho chef de mission Letsatsi Ntsibolane praised the official’s selection.

“In Africa only there are three qualified officials and we are proud that we are not only sending athletes to Brazil but an official too,” he said.

Lesotho’s Rio Olympics delegation

Athletics

Nkhasi Namakoe – 5000 metres

Tšepo Mathibelle – Marathon

Lebenya Nkoka – Marathon

Tšepang Sello – 800 metres

Mosito Lehata – 200 metres, 100 metres

Coaches

Kenneth Hlasa

Stephen Buckland – Mosito Lehata’s coach

Derick van Rensburg – Tšepang Sello’s coach

Boxing

Moroke Mokhotho

Inkululeko Suntele

Coaches

Sibusiso Keketsi

Moeketsi Liphalo

Cycling

Phetetso Monese

Coach

Mark West

Team Lesotho head of delegation

Letsatsi Ntsibolane

General manager

Lekomola Moholo

Team doctor

Dr ‘Mamello Sekese

LNOC CEO

Morake Raleaka

LNOC president

‘Matlohang Moiloa-Ramoqopo

Referee

Moshoeshoe Molapo

 

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