Nkhasi misses out on IAAF World Championships

Nkhasi misses out on IAAF World Championships

Maseru – Lesotho Olympian Namakoe Nkhasi endured a bittersweet Regional Senior Championships last weekend winning double gold but missing out on a spot at the 2017 IAAF World Championships.

Nkhasi was crowned champion in both the 5 000 and 10 000 metres races at the regional showpiece in Harare, Zimbabwe, but his efforts were not enough to book a ticket to August’s London World Championships.

His failure in the 5 000 metres was particularly agonising as he missed the IAAF qualifying mark by just 27 seconds.
The in-form Nkhasi, who set a new 21 kilometres record in winning the Two Oceans half-marathon in April, needed to run a time of 13:25 minutes to qualify but finished in 13:52.

The middle distance specialist’s disappointment means, as things stand, Lesotho will be represented by only three athletes at the World Championships – marathon runners Tšepo Mathibelle and Motlokoa Nkhabutlane and sprinter Mosito Lehata.
Nevertheless, speaking on Tuesday, Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) Sejanamane Maphathe said although the association had expected Nkhasi to qualify for London, his failure to do so is not a disaster.

Instead, Maphathe said LAAA is happy with Nkhasi’s wins because they show he was determined to qualify.
Nkhasi was one of eight local athletes who were in Zimbabwe hoping to secure places at the London championships.
“Nkhasi won two gold medals in both the 5000 and 10 000 metres but he failed to qualify as he could not make the qualifying time; in fact, none of the athletes we sent to Zimbabwe qualified,” Maphathe said.

“In the 5000 metres Nkhasi was supposed to run 13:25 (minutes) to make it but he only managed to run 13:52. It’s not heart-breaking, though, because he won and came home with gold medals. I talked to him and he told me there was no one pushing him. He had no competition which could be one of the reasons why he didn’t make the qualifying time as no one was giving him a tough time.”

With African qualifying events for the World Championships fast running out, Maphathe said last weekend’s Regional Senior Championships were likely the final opportunity for the majority of Lesotho’s hopefuls to make it to London.

There are still several qualifying opportunities remaining in Europe but local athletes face financial difficulties attending events overseas.
Maphathe said the LAAA’s initial plan was to take 10 athletes to Zimbabwe but it had to cut the list down to eight in the final minutes before the trip as the vehicle used for the trip could only accommodate 13 people.

Luciah Phahla

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