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Athletes awarded scholarships


Moorosi Tsiane

Five athletes—Lerato Sechele, Moroke Mokhothu, Suntele Inkululeko, Ntšeke Setho and Mosito Lehata—have been awarded scholarships to help them in their preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

The scholarships, which are courtesy of the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC), were handed to the athletes on Friday in Maseru.

Sechele specialises in triple and long jump, while Mokhothu and Inkululeko are boxers. Setho is a swimmer and Lehata a sprinter, who has become one of Lesotho’s most iconic athletes.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, the LNOC chief executive officer, Morake Raleaka, said the performance-based sponsorship begins next month, and would run until 2016.

“The scholarships come in two forms, whereby two of the athletes are going to be based at high-performance training centres outside the country, while the others will be training here at home, but being given financial support.

“The sponsorship will be determined by the athletes’ performance and if they fail to live up to the expected standards, the contract will be terminated,” said Raleaka.

According to Raleaka, those to be sent abroad would have all their expenses taken care of, while the locally based athletes are to receive M7500 a month to cover their supplements, gym and coaching incidentals.

Raleaka also noted Lehata’s contract had been extended by two years and that the sprinter would remain at the  Mauritius High Performance Centre, where he has been based since 2010. Sechele, on the other hand, would go to a similar high-performance centre in Senegal until 2016, Raleaka added.

Raleaka also noted the athletes had been recommended for the scholarships by their respective  sports associations.

“The LNOC did not choose these athletes; they were recommended to us by their respective associations based on their potential to do well in Rio,” he said.

The LNOC, he added, was also building for the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo, Japan.

“We are looking beyond the 2016 Olympics and believe these athletes will keep on doing well so that this sponsorship is extended the way Mosito’s has been extended.

“Again, we are building for the 2020 Olympics and believe this is the right time to start our preparations.”

In his vote-of-thanks, the Lesotho Boxing Association president, Takatso Ramakhula, said the LNOC’s initiative had shown the organisation’s determination to improve local sport.

“I would like to thank the LNOC for this sponsorship. This shows your determination to take the level of sports in this country, to a higher level, and for that, we are grateful,” Ramakhula said.

“You have done your part, as the LNOC. It is now up to the government and business sector to also help in making a difference in local sport. For these athletes to do well internationally, they are going to need international exposure and if the two parties can help in that regard, then these youngsters are going to excel in their respective fields,” said Ramakhula.

On his part, Lehata said it was now up to the recipients of the scholarships to work hard and not let the LNOC and the nation, down.

“I would like to thank the LNOC for giving us such an opportunity to excel in our chosen fields. It is now up to us to keep on working hard so that we qualify for the 2016 Olympics,” Lehata said.


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