THE Lesotho athletics trio of triple jump star Lerato Sechele and middle-distance starlets Manqabang Tsibela and Thebe Semoko (both 15) have been nominated for awards in the fourth edition of the Regional Annual Sports Awards (RASA 2019) set for next month in Windhoek, Namibia.
Sechele will be competing in the sports woman of the year category while Tsibela and Semoko have been nominated in the junior sports female and junior sports male of the year categories respectively.
The trio will be competing with other nominees from nine other Southern African countries which form the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 at the awards.
The nine other countries are Angola (debutants) Botswana, eSwatini, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
As per the AUSC Region 5 Awards Rulebook, the primary mandate of the AUSC Region 5 is to encourage all 10 member countries to host their national sport awards preceding the RASA.
The winners at country level are automatically entered as RASA nominees.
Following her impressive season last year, Sechele bagged the Lesotho Annual Sports Awards (LASA) Sportswoman of the year gong. Tsibela walked away with Junior Female Sportsperson of the year while Semoko scooped Junior Male Sportsperson and the Newcomer of the Year Awards.
Sechele, who walked away with a bronze medal in last year’s Africa Senior Championships in Nigeria said she was happy with her nomination.
“The nomination is special because I have been nominated alongside other athletes from the region,” Sechele said.
“I am grateful to God because I wouldn’t have made it without His grace.”
As part of her preparations for the All Africa Games set for Morocco later this year, Sechele will also compete in the Gaborone Meeting in Botswana during the last weekend of this month.
“I received the news of my nomination while I was preparing for the upcoming All Africa Games. I am in Sasolburg now and later this month I will be competing in the Gaborone Meeting,” she said.
The Thaba-Tseka based Tsibela has been on her road to stardom winning gold medals at two consecutive AUSC Games in 2016 and last year in the 3000 and 5000 metres competitions.
Semoko (3000m), who is based in Mokhotlong, was among the winners in last year’s Confederation of School Sports Association of Southern Africa (COSSASA) in Francistown, Botswana.
Both Tsibela and Semoko could not be reached for comment.