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Olympics qualification; local athletes race against time


Leemisa Thuseho

FOUR local long-distance runners missed out on Olympic qualifying times in one of their last attempts at the KwaZulu Natal athletics competitions on Friday.

The race saw Tšepo Ramashamole finishing third in the men’s 5000 metre race clocking 13:55.72. Namakoe Nkhasi and Tebello Ramakongoana finished fourth and fifth clocking 14:06.45 and 14:22.49 respectively. The qualifying standard time for the 5km race is 13:13.50.

Toka Badboy was also competing in the 5km race but failed to finish the race due to a hamstring injury suffered during the recent Lesotho National Championship where he was crowned champion in the same race.

‘Mathakane Letsie finished second in the female’s 3km race recording 10:21.24 on the clock. She needed to clock 9:30.00 to qualify for the Olympics.

The qualifying period is closing at the end of this month and Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) secretary general Makara Thibinyane this weekend said time was running out for local athletes. If they can get another race in South Africa next week, then they can have another go.

“They have tried their best and the federation did everything in its power to take them to the races,” Thibinyane said.

“At the moment, we are not sure about the next races but I have heard that there might be some next weekend in South Africa. If they all fail to attend any events next weekend, that means we will be done with qualifications.”

He said all four athletes were prepared to compete in the 10 000km race on Friday but the category was scrapped. They were therefor forced to compete in different categories.

So far, Lesotho has only two athletes who have qualified for the Olympics; the husband and wife duo of Khoarahlane Seutloali and ‘Neheng Khatlala Seutloali.

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