TRIPLE jump star, Lerato Sechele, jumped 13.25 meters last weekend in Pretoria, South Africa event to break her own national record.
The feat came barely a week after the 23-year old athlete has been given another chance to revive her career by the Lesotho National Olympics Committee (LNOC) who awarded her a four year Olympic Solidarity Scholarship.
Sechele is one of six athletes who recently received scholarships to help them prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan.
The others include Mosito Lehata and Tšepang Sello (athletics) who will undergo training at the University of the Free State Sports Science Institute (FSSSI) where they will rub shoulders with 400 world champion South African, Wade Van Niekerk.
Marumo Moloisane (Taekwondo) will train at the Taekwondo Competence Centre in Germany.
Sechele along with Moroke Mokhotho (boxing) and Tumelo Makae (cycling) will be under domestic placement and train in Lesotho.
Lehata, Mokhotho and Sechele were all on the last Olympic Scholarship prior to the Rio Olympics in Brazil in 2016
Lehata was based in Mauritius, Sechele in Senegal and Moroke on domestic placement.
This was certainly good news to all six but I think Sechele probably deserves the second chance more than anyone else especially after her Senegal debacle.
We all know what happened last time she received a similar scholarship to help her prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.
Things did not go according to plan and she failed to qualify for the Olympics as her performances declined instead of improving.
Upon her return to Lesotho, the Moshoeshoe II born athlete was not only brave but honest enough to accept that all had not gone well and to reveal that that the conditions in Senegal were not conducive to achieving optimum performance.
It has been a year since she returned home and in that time, Sechele has improved tremendously as evidenced by the recent feat of setting a new national record. She also broke long-standing 12.72 metre record that was set by the retired Selloane Tšoaeli.
This just shows how good Sechele is and it was just unfortunate that her career was almost derailed in Senegal.
And while that was not the fault of the LNOC, I hope and believe that they will always do everything in the power to ensure that scholarships build rather than destroy athletes’ careers.
Sechele has shown that she has a big heart after undergoing such a rough patch. She did not give up as she came back and revived her career under her old coach Reynold Silas.
This is a great development as the towering athlete prepares for next year’s Commonwealth Games to be staged in Gold Coast, Australia.
All the best to her and other local athletes.