It was supposed to be his long-awaited break, but iconic bodybuilder, Solomon Mahone, is kicking his heels in frustration once again.
The 2014 Maseru Classics Clash of the Iron Titans winner was supposed to compete in the International Natural Bodybuilding Association Mr Olympia Universe contest scheduled for California from 6-9 November, but would no longer be part of the prestigious championship due to visa problems.
Mahone qualified for the competition after winning the International Natural Bodybuilding contest held in South Africa in July this year.
In an interview, the disappointed Mahone on Thursday told the Sunday Express that after hustling for a sponsor, he could not secure a visa from the American embassy due to a combination of factors. Last year, Mahone failed to travel to South Korea for another bodybuilding contest because of financial constraints, and had thought he would make the US trip after securing sponsorship from JP Finance Services last week.
“I worked so hard to find a sponsor for this trip, as JP Finance Services had agreed to cater for my every needs pertaining to the competition. On Wednesday last week, I went to apply for the visa at the American embassy but was told my application had failed since I had no money in my account to act as a guarantee that I would return home after the competition
“I went to the American embassy unaware of this requirement, and was also informed that was the last day for visa-applications for this year, so there was no way I could have secured this guarantee because there was no money,” Mahone said.
“This is my second trip to fail after I could also not go to the National Amateur Bodybuilding Association tournament which was held in South Korea last year, due to lack of funds.
“I have been taking part in several competitions in South Africa, winning most of them, and since sponsorship is our major problem in this country, I have been forced to represent South Africa internationally.”
Mahone appealed to government and the business community to start supporting bodybuilding, which he said had the potential to put the country on the map.
“I just hope the business sector and government can give us, bodybuilders, that much-needed support as we have proved time and again, that we are capable of winning medals for this country.
“Such success markets Lesotho to the world, while the growth of bodybuilding in our country can also help participants earn a living through the sport.”