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Are we building from the roof top?


Moorosi Tsiane

I WATCHED last week’s International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Youth Championships in Kenya and I must say it was very embarrassing to see Lesotho only had one representative, Mojela Koeneshe in the 100 metres sprint event.

Although the South African-based sprinter was disqualified for a false start in the semifinal I still believe that was a learning experience that will help him in future.

Other countries had so many athletes in different disciplines and I could not understand why we have not prioritised sending representative in large numbers given that such competitions give young athletes the much-needed international exposure.

Our failure made it evident enough that Lesotho still has a long way to go as far as the development of athletes is concerned.

I have always told our football authorities that our senior national team always fails to perform well at international competitions because of the lack of good and clear development structures.

It looks like the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) is going down the same route as the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) and other national sports associations by failing to prepare athletes well through giving them international exposure.

Sport is developing every time and new techniques are always being introduced.

Our failure to send meaningful representation to these lower tier competitions means we will remain stuck in the old ways doing things leading to disappointment.

Put another way, we are just as good as building from the roof top as we always take athletes to the serious international competitions without ever giving them the exposure they would have obtained through developmental events.

No wonder we have only managed to win one gold medal at the 1999 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, courtesy of former long distance runner Thabiso Moqhali.

The Lesotho Sport and Recreation Association (LSRC) and the Lesotho National Olympics Committee (LNOC) needs to work hand in hand to see that we achieve more in terms of developing athletes.

LNOC may say it is not for them to develop athletes but then again they need to play a part because after all they receive praise when athletes do well.

The fact that Lesotho sent only six athletes to the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas speaks volumes about our lack of seriousness as a country.

Other countries are using such events to prepare for future big tournaments and if this continues we will always have a few representatives at prestigious events like the Olympics and these will always return home empty-handed.

The LSRC needs to push the sporting associations to work hard from the grassroots.

We need to have more representatives at developmental levels because there is simply no substitute for doing things the right way.

Success cannot be achieved overnight but jumping the necessary stages of development.

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