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Family, sports fraternity mourn marathoner

Moorosi Tsiane

MARATHONER Tsepo Mathibelle bade an emotional farewell to his twin brother Tsepang who was laid to rest yesterday at Ha-Masiu, Mafeteng.

Tsepang succumbed to tuberculosis on 18 January 2020 at Teyateyaneng Government Hospital.

The 29-year-old runner, who won the Mandela Marathon in 2016, was described by his brother as a caring and loving person.

Mathibelle, who couldn’t hide his agony, said he had lost a good friend.

“I know that the sporting fraternity will say they have lost so much but I have lost more than anyone else because apart from being my brother, he was also a good friend.

“We used to share everything with him and used to live together in Maseru until I got married; we would share ideas and try to encourage each other to do well,” Mathibelle said wiping off tears from his face.

“He was my rock and a good partner in sport. However, I want to thank that at least he gave me such a good friend.

“I still would have loved to be with him for a longer time but who am I to question God’s decisions? Mine is just to accept things as they are and just hope wherever he is, his soul is resting in peace.

“I have a knife scar on my finger that he inflicted when we were fighting; it will always remind me of him.”

Mathibelle said he would continue running to represent his brother.

“I promise you Tsepang, I will run and wherever I go, I will always represent you too. You will always be with me in spirit.

“Tsepang had a good heart and was always willing to help others. To my mother; please be strong and know that I am still here and I hope God will strengthen you. You were always with us even when we lost our father at a young age; I appreciate that.”

The Olympian thanked the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) for their support.

“I am thankful to the FAL who have been with us ever since we started this sport; we thank you because if it wasn’t for you, we both couldn’t have gone far. We appreciate your support this far. I also thank the fellow runners who have been with us.

Athletics coach Chaplin Mpomane said: “Nurture an athlete is not an easy task and we are in a period where sport has turned into business and a lot has been invested”.

“It is sad that we have lost this talent at a time when we were expecting to gain from him,” Mpomane told the mourners.

He described Tsepang as an introvert who always liked doing things alone.

“He was alone most of the time and I am the one who lured him into running and nurtured him into the athlete that he was. He was a hard worker, very stubborn but also a people’s person with a good heart.

“I nurtured him until he was at a level where he was able to attract sponsors on his own… He died at time when we were expecting to gain a lot from him as an elite athlete. But God is never wrong; we will have to soldier on and always align yourself with God.

“I would like to convey my condolences to his family and may the Lord be with you in this trying time,” Mpomane said.

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