‘Lehata, Nkoka will shine in Rio’

‘Lehata, Nkoka will shine in Rio’

LuciahPhahla

Maseru

Lesotho’s most successful athlete Thabiso Moqhali has tipped Mosito Lehata and Lebenya Nkoka to shine at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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

Speaking to thepost this week, Moqhali said determination and self-confidence will determine Team Lesotho’s success at Rio 2016.

Sprinter Lehata along with marathon runners Nkoka and Tšepo Mathibelle have qualified for the Olympics athletics programme and are entering their final preparations for the September showpiece.

Moqhali said he is confident all three will do well.

He said if Lehata and Nkoka are fully fit, they especially stand a chance to shine on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

“Mosito is in Mauritius and he is under the programme (Olympic Solidarity Programme) that put him in an advantageous position to make Basotho proud,” Moqhali said on Monday.

“Nkoka did not participate in the Two Oceans Marathon this year as part of preparations for the Olympics, which is a good thing.”

He added: “It’s not easy to say who will perform better between them but if Mosito can be fully fit for the Games I think he will do well, same with Nkoka.”

Moqhali said young marathon hopeful Mathibelle still has age on his side and should use this year’s event as a learning curve. He praised the 24-year-old saying he has the potential to one day win an Olympic medal.

“Tšepo ran in Korea (two weeks ago) and recorded a personal best time which is really good news to Basotho. He is still a young athlete with potential and I think if he can participate in two or three Olympics he will win. He has potential. Even if does not bring anything this year, he should not beat himself as there are many Olympics (more) coming for him,” Moqhali said.

As a marathon specialist, Moqhali had particular advice for Nkoka and Mathibelle.

“One has to train for the marathons. They should believe in themselves and have self-confidence. They should know that they are no different from the rest of the athletes that will be competing (at the Olympics). I am not saying they should be arrogant but they must tell themselves that they are going to the Olympics to compete,” he said.

Moqhali also recalled his preparations for the Commonwealth Games in 1999 saying he did not participate in the Two Oceans Marathon and only chose to compete in half marathons.

He said he is pleased Nkoka and Mathibelle are doing the same thing.

He said heavy competition in marathons while preparing for such big events can result in fatigue. He advised the runners to concentrate on race-specific training.

“I did not participate in the Two Oceans Marathon while I was preparing for the Commonwealth Games; I only took part in half marathons. I remember the Games were in September and I stopped running in April as I was now preparing. They are doing the same thing which is good. Too much of participation can result in fatigue, the body could lose balance. Only training is very important,” Moqhali said.

Moqhali said motivation is critical for the athletes for them to stay on the right course in their preparations for the Olympics. He said more should be done to support the athletes in this regard over the coming months.

“They should stay motivated all the time and something should be done to help them stay focused; focused at work, focused during training and focused even at home,” Moqhali said.

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