LESOTHO’S top boxer Moroke Mokhotho has set his target on a qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics through convincing performances at the World Champions in Russia in September this year.
The 28-year old boxer was given a lifeline to participate in the 2016 Rio Olympics by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) after he lost in a bronze medal qualifier to Uganda’s Ronald Serugo at AIBA’s African Olympic qualification tournament held in Yaoundé, Cameroon in March 2016.
He however, got the chance to go to Rio as the Tripartite Commission which was responsible for allocating places at Rio 2016 identified him as the highest ranked fighter in his division who failed to qualify directly for the games.
The places were allocated to deserving athletes from countries that have had less than eight athletes in individual sports at the last two editions of the Olympics.
He joined his countryman, the late Inkululeko Suntele, to form a team of two boxers in Lesotho’s eight team members at the Rio Olympics.
Mokhotho said his intentions this year are clear as he wants to qualify for next year’s games where he would fight in the 56kg category.
“I have been hard at work with my coach with whom I am doing two programmes daily,” Mokhotho said adding: “We are focusing on body condition at Lehakoe in the mornings and we go to Setsoto Stadium for technical sessions in the afternoons”.
“My target is to qualify for the Olympics next year and I want to do that at the World Champs which will be held later this year. If I qualify, then I will have enough time to prepare for the 2020 Olympics.”
Mokhotho said he is also out for a gold medal at the All Africa Games which will be held in Morocco in August and September 2019.
“I have huge ambitions this year and I believe I can achieve them all if I remain focused. I am also looking at the All Africa Games and want to win a gold medal there.
“There are also other competitions such as the African Cup Championships but before then, there are also Zone4 championships to be hosted by Botswana,” Mokhotho said.
Mokhotho however, lamented that his challenge remains the country’s lack of finances as there has no money is yet to be provided for his participation in all the targeted competitions.
“I just hope I will be able to attend all the tournaments because to me they are all important because also fighting regularly at the international competitions boosts one’s confidence,” he said.
The boxer’s last tournament was last year in October at the Lesotho Open tournament where he scooped gold in his weight category hopes to get other tournaments next month.
“I have heard that South Africa are also having an open tournament next month although I don’t have all full details now but I will have to go to my coach and discuss it and see if I can’t be able to go just to see how far I have come with my preparations,” Mokhotho said.