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Local athletes pursue Olympic qualification

Pascalinah Kabi

MASERU — Lesotho’s top seven athletes will this morning compete in the 42.2 kilometre Steinmetz Gaborone City Marathon as they seek to boost their chances of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Jobo Khatoane, Ramolefi Motsieloa, Tsepo Ramonene, Sechaba Bohoosi, Mokhejane Lesenyeho, Matela Makhetha, Moleboheng Mafata and ‘Makampong Masaile are hoping to be among the first local athletes to qualify for the games.
LAAA spokesperson, Sejanamane Maphathe, told the Sunday Express on Friday that the race is crucial as no local athlete had so far qualified for the London games.
Maphathe said he was confident that 70 percent of these athletes would eventually qualify for the Olympics scheduled to run from July to August.
“We are confident that at the end of the race today four or five of the athletes will have qualified for the Olympic Games,” Maphathe said.
He said this would make the nation proud.
“Booking our first four or five spots at the Olympic Games would help us build a strong team as a country.”
Maphathe added that this would be a confidence booster as sports fans were beginning to ask if Lesotho athletes will qualify for the Olympic Games.
The team had prepared hard for the Steinmetz Gaborone City Marathon, giving the association hope that the athletes will do well today.
Jobo and Ramolefi were currently training with Two Oceans Marathon champion, Stephen Muzhingi, in Durban and would join the rest of the team in Botswana.
“They are not only training with Muzhingi, but also other top Kenyan athletes under the Two Oceans Marathon winner’s coach,” Maphathe said.
International Athletics Amateur Association (IAAA) has set 2:15 (A standard) and 2:18 (B standard) as minimum entry for men in this year’s 42.2 km marathon at the London Olympic Games.
Qualifying standards for women have been set at 2:37 and 2:43 as A and B standards.
According to IAAA’s rules and regulations, if a country qualifies for the Olympic Games through A standard it stands a chance of sending many athletes to the games.

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