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No Olympic Games for Makae 

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Leemisa Thuseho 

LESOTHO’s renowned mountain bike rider, Tumelo Makae, has suffered a huge blow as he will once again not feature in the upcoming Olympic Games. 

This after he failed to secure the Universality Invitation (Wild card) to the upcoming games?slated for 26 July to 11 August 2024 in Paris, France. 

Makae was hoping to qualify for the games through the?Universality Invitation after the Cycling Federation of Lesotho (CFL) and Lesotho National Olympic Games put his name forward. 

There was only one available Universality Invitation slot available for the men’s MTB category in the next Olympic Games. 

To Makae’s utter dismay, Lesotho lost the bid to the Liechtenstein Olympic Committee. Thus, Liechtenstein will choose their own rider to participate in the games. As it stands Liechtenstein top rider, Puntener Ramano, is likely to take the slot. 

?The Universality Invitation slot was awarded by the Olympic Games Tripartite Commission and was announced by the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Friday. 

Makae is one of the Lesotho athletes under the Olympic Solidarity Scholarships for athletes through the LNOC. The scholarships are awarded to best performing athletes to help them during the Olympic Games qualification period. 

?Makae was still in the same scholarship ahead of the previous Olympic Games held in Tokyo, Japan from 23 July to 8 August 2021 but still didn’t make it to the games. 

Talking to the?Sunday Express?after his heartbreak, Makae said the decision would not demoralise him.? He will continue to work hard until he fulfils his dream of competing in the Olympic Games. 

“I will not be discouraged, I will keep on fighting,” Makae said. 

“I do not have much to say, but I hope and promise to work harder and qualify for the next Olympic Games (2028 edition in Los Angeles, USA),” 

On his part, CFL public relations officer, Malefa Morie, said their failure to get the?Universality Invitation for Makae came hard on them because they believed Lesotho stood a better chance for the slot. 

Morie said at the UCI global rankings, Lesotho ranked better than Liechtenstein. Globally Lesotho is ranked at position 47 while Liechtenstein is at 83. 

“This is very sad. We were very confident that we were going to get the invitation for the rider,” Morie told the?Sunday Express. 

“Looking at the rankings, we are above Liechtenstein. However, it is the discretion of the Olympic Games organisers to choose who to give the Universality Invitation. 

“But we still believe we will be considered if any country amongst the qualified pulls out.” 

Makae is currently in Switzerland and today he will be competing in the Swiss Bike Cup in Leysin in that country. 


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