Tjoka back on track

Tjoka back on track

Maseru – Lesotho’s most successful female distance runner ‘Mamoroallo Tjoka is back after two years in the cold. Affectionately dubbed Lesotho’s marathon queen before her drugs shame, Tjoka’s first race back is the Sasol Half Marathon this weekend in the Free State, South Africa. Tjoka is a record five-time winner of the Soweto Marathon and competed at the Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012.

Together with fellow distance specialist Ramolefi Motsieloa, she was slapped with a two-year ban after testing positive for a banned substance after the 2014 High Altitude Summer Marathon. Tjoka won the woman’s race at the annual Mokhotlong event while Motsieloa came second in the men’s section.
Motsieloa competed for the first time since his ban at the National Cross Country Championship this past weekend. Although he fell short to eventual winner Jobo Khatoane, he looked sharp.

According to Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) public relations officer, Sejanamane Maphathe, both athletes were barred from even training during their bans.
“They are back and ‘Mamoroallo will be participating in the Sasol Half Marathon this weekend while Ramolefi participated in the National Cross Country this past weekend,” he said.
Maphathe added: “They have served their sentences and they are eligible to compete again. You will remember, during their suspensions they were not even allowed to train.”
Meanwhile, Maphathe confirmed the LAAA is yet to select a team to represent Lesotho at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in June.
He said the association will host district championships where each region will select its best runners. From there a national championship will be held to select a final squad for the Bahamas games.

Maphathe said the LAAA is presently hard at work with a team of athletes that will depart for Uganda for the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships to be held on March 26.
“We are yet to select the team that will go to the Commonwealth (Youth Games). However, the World Cross Country Championships in Uganda is where we would have loved to take a bigger team but the hosts said they want to accommodate all the countries, so they can only pay for two athletes (from Lesotho),” he said.
Maphathe continued: “We have other major competitions that we are looking at. There is the IAAF World Youth Championships in Kenya in July as well as the IAAF World Championships in London (in August).”

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