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Makae stuck but happy in Switzerland

Leemisa Thuseho

LESOTHO’S mountain bike champion Tumelo Makae could be struck in Switzerland at the World Cycling Training Centre but he is happy about the misfortune.

This is because during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) induced global lockdowns, he has had continued access to all training facilities.

Had he managed to travel back home when several other athletes from the same facility left for their respective countries, then he would have failed to access any such facilities in Lesotho.

“I have continued my normal training routines without any restrictions,” Makae told the Sunday Express on Friday.

He said being in Switzerland has also given him access to his coach, who is helping him with his training.

Makae has been stuck at the centre since March when his fellow athletes left for their home countries in March this year on the back of the spread of the deadly virus. He failed to travel home in time due to the closure of South African airspace since there are no direct flights from anywhere in the world save for from OR Tambo in South Africa.

By the time he wanted to travel from Switzerland, South Africa had already closed its airspace.

Makae is in Switzerland under the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship, a facility for athletes who are preparing for the Olympics.

His scholarship started in 2017 and it was expected to end this year August. However, it has now been postponed to next year Tokyo Olympics. The Tokyo Olympics were meant to have been held in July and August this year but were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Although Switzerland is one of the European countries that are affected by Coronavirus, Makae allayed fears that he could be at risk.

“I am doing well and I am safe,” Makae said.

Switzerland has so far reported 29 586 confirmed cases with 1 737 death while 23 400 have recovered.

Despite the huge numbers of infections, Switzerland started relaxing lockdown regulations last month.

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