THE Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) has come to the rescue of the table tennis national team by paying for their trip to Botswana for the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 championships.
The championships will run from 11 to 15 December 2021. The Lesotho Table Tennis Association (LeTTA) had been forced to cancel the trip last week due to financial challenges.
Initially the association had hoped to get financial assistance from the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC). However, the latter was unable to help as it is yet to receive its subvention from the Gender, Youth, Sport and Recreation Ministry.
But the sun is shining once again for the table tennis following the LNOC’s timely intervention. “LNOC and our Botswana counterparts came to our rescue after we failed to get assistance from the LSRC,” LeTTA treasurer, Thabo Tikoe, told the Sunday Express this weekend.
“Botswana offered to pay for our accommodation after we told them that we were no longer coming.” He said the initial budget for the trip was M50 000 and this was for transport, accommodation, food, attire and playing equipment. But they had since requested M30 000 from the LNOC now that Botswana would pay for their accommodation, he said.
He also revealed that the team had departed for Botswana on Friday without any officials including the coach due to the limited budget. “Missing the tournament would have been a huge disappointment and it would have denied our athletes a chance to fight for qualification for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
“Our priority is the players’ participation. Due to the limited budget, we decided to send only eight players without any officials to the tournament. This is not a new thing because even when we hosted the same tournament in 2019, some teams came without coaches but they still competed well,” Tikoe said.
Lesotho’s team is led by top-ranked player, Khethang Mothibi. Other male players are Themba Talane, Hareteke Mapeshoane and Likhetho Mothibi.
The ladies’ team comprises of Thato Mathibeli, Nthabeleng Mokeki, Reaboka Bofelo and Reitumetse Maome.
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