No excuses this time around
LESOTHO has 22 representatives in various sporting disciplines at the upcoming Commonwealth Games to be held in the Gold Coast, Australia from 26 March to 15 April this year.
The different associations have been working flat out to prepare the athletes for the cycling, boxing, weightlifting athletics, and table tennis disciplines and this time around we are not taking any excuses but we want to see the athletes bring home some medals.
Team Lesotho comprises of five females and five males in athletics, four males and a female in boxing, three males and one female in cycling, one male and one female in table tennis and one weightlifter (male).
One has to go back to the 2006 games in Melbourne, Australia for the last time that Lesotho won a medal- a silver which was won by boxer, Moses Kopo.
In the last edition of the games, sprinter Mosito Lehata came closest to breaking the jinx but he had to settle for fourth place behind three Jamaicans in the 100 metre final.
However, if the current steps taken by different associations to prepare athletes for the games are anything to go by, I have no doubt that we will finally end our long wait for silverware.
Triple jump national record holder, Lerato Sechele, is currently in France competing in series of competitions as part of her preparations.
Tšepang Sello, the female 800 metres specialist has been doing well after clocking 4:33:28 last Saturday to win the Zone 1 championship in Bloemfontein.
Lehata is also in Bloemfontein, South Africa under the experienced coach, Ans Botha, who is credited with producing world stars such as Olympics and World champion 400 metres champion, Wayde Van Niekerk.
Lehata is one of the most experienced athletes. Unfortunately he has not been doing well on the big stage but all eyes will be on him now that he has a world class coach.
Locally, the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association have been busy organising races to prepare those athletes who are in the country.
The Lesotho Cycling Association (LCA) has not been left behind as they have been sending cyclists to competitions in South Africa. Malefetsane Lesofe and Tumelo Makae are currently at the World Cycling Centre in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
There is also Phethetso Monese and Likeleli Masitise who have been competing in different competitions and they will also compete in this weekend’s South African championships in Cape Town.
The Lesotho Boxing Association also joined the party by sending boxers to international competitions.
The 12-member team which will be trimmed to five boxers will participate in two tournaments in South Africa (this weekend) and the Zone IV championships in Mozambique.
However, there has not been any significant activity in table tennis and weightlifting.
That notwithstanding, it is evident that local associations are doing everything they can to prepare the athletes for this major sporting event.
Lack of preparations has been a major bane for Lesotho, resulting in dismal performances by our athletes on the big stage.
But with all these preparations, I am certain we are on the right track to eliminating one of the major obstacles to international success.
It is therefore my hope and I believe I speak for local sports lovers when I say there should not be any excuses for poor performances this time around.
May all athletes go out there and do us proud.