Lehata struggles in SA
SOUTH African based sprint king, Mosito Lehata, has struggled to record competitive times as preparations for the Commonwealth Games scheduled for 4 to 15 April intensify.
The athlete who is was granted another Olympic Solidarity Scholarship by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee that commenced last year is training at the University of the Free State Science Institute (FSSSI) where he is also preparing for the 2020 Olympics.
The Olympic Scholarship for Athletes is a programme by Olympic Solidarity (OS) that offers National Olympic Committees (NOCs) the chance to obtain financial and technical assistance for a limited number of elite athletes who are training and to qualify for Olympic Games. The Scholarship objective is mainly to assist selected and proposed elite athletes by their NOCs in their preparation and qualification for the XXXII Olympiad, Tokyo 2020.
This is Lehata’s third time to benefit from the facility as he has previously been awarded two scholarships running from 2012 to 2014 and 2014 to 2016.
The 29-year old spent the four years at a high performance and training center in Mauritius.
But despite the class preparations, the runner’s performance did not improve much, at least as he has not won any medals.
Now coached by Ans Botha, who also coaches world and Olympic 400 metre record holder, Wayde Van Neirkek, Lehata told the Sunday Express that he has struggled to get good times in his training in South Africa.
“I have run in two races so far and I did not do well,” Lehata said.
“Of course, I wanted to do well but I did not. I honestly did not think it will be this difficult for me to adapt. I used to run fast times so easily but now I struggle.”
Slowly sliding into despair, the sprinter appears worried about the Commonwealth Games that are now just a fortnight away where he would be one of the 20 athletes participating in four disciplines namely, athletics, boxing, cycling and weightlifting.
“I know the young athletes back home look up to me but just one day, one of them will be facing the same challenge. In life things do not always go your way but I keep saying we must always try until we get it right. We must have faith and stay positive.
“As long as I still have my legs I will make it. I want Basotho people to know that it (success) might not come early but I am not going to stop fighting until I get to the top.
“It takes one race to turn things around. I have the Commonwealth Games just around the corner and I am still busy with training. I am working hard every day to get myself in shape.”
The Matsieng born athlete quashed speculation that age could be catching up and said there were sprinters that were older than him but were still doping well.
“It is not about age. I broke the 100m national record just last year. We have so many athletes who are 32 years old and are still running well and Breaking records,” he said.
“I think I must find a way to adapt because training hard does not always guarantee results. The training is totally different from what I got in Mauritius and my body will take time to adapt to changes. I want results and the people want results but at this stage we must be patient.”
The athlete is likely to participate in two races before he departs to Australia for the Commonwealth Games.
“My agent is yet to confirm whether or not I will participate in the Cape Town race next week but I am also supposed to participate in another preparatory race in Sasolburg on the 27 March just before his departure to Australia.
“But the main target is the 2020 Olympics so I still believe with time I will do this and make Basotho proud,” said Lehata.