LESOTHO’S top ranked table tennis player Khethang Mothibi is determined to hoist the national flag high and win a gold medal at the upcoming 2019 African Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 Table Tennis Championship.
Initially slated for 4 to 11 December at the Lehakoe Recreational and Cultural Centre, the event will now run from 8 to 12 December 2019 at the same venue.
The left-handed Mothibi is making his second appearance at the championship having debuted in the South Africa edition of the games in 2009.
In 2009, Mothibi reached the last 32 of the championship and says he is ready to win.
“I am ready for the championship even though I do not have enough time to train due to work commitments,” Mothibi said.
“As a team, our main target is to ensure that we win medals for the country.”
Mothibi is confident that his current form will help him hoist Lesotho’s flag high in the games.
He got off to a good start in this year’s local competitions winning the Lesotho Table Tennis Association (LeTTA) 2019 Opening Tournament in Mafeteng in February. He continued with his good form to win the LeTTA Winter tournament in Maseru in August.
In September he also won a national team selection tournament in Butha-Buthe.
“I am also impressed with my teammates; they are training harder and everyday their performances improve.
“My only worry is that we are ill-funded as the association cannot even afford to buy us water, food or snacks for training sessions.
“We have not played any friendlies with other countries but we will still play to make Basotho proud,” Mothibi said.
Mothibi also appealed to Basotho to rally behind the team at the competition.
He will represent the country alongside Likhetho Mothibi, Tšeliso Chere, Hareteke Mapeshoane and Themba Talane.
In the ladies’ category, Lesotho will be represented by Thato Mathibeli, Matšeliso Chere, Nthabeleng Mokeki, Reaboka Bofelo and Tumisang Mpesi.
Nteboheleng Ratšoane, Pulane Lebesa and ‘Mathapelo Thuntša make up Lesotho’s female team for para-table tennis while Ramofokeng Tšeiso, Tšele Masitha, Mokete Malefane and Mosuoe Sehloho will play in the males’ category.
This is Lesotho’s first time to host the championship after LeTTA was granted the rights by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) via the AUSC Table Tennis Region 5 last year.
The AUSC Table Tennis Region 5 has taken over the financing of the games after the government failed to raise the necessary funds.