THE Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation Mahali Phamotse has pleaded with parents to stop sidelining their disabled children and let them live normal lives.
Phamotse said this at the recent sendoff of the four-member team Lesotho for the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games to be staged in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from Thursday to 21 March 2019.
Tšeliso Kokotela and Lefu Sehlooho will both be competing in the males’ category of the 100 metres race while Lineo Kolomane and Mampotseng Majara will be participating in the 100 metres female race.
Khotso Qakatha and Mabokang Mdandalaza will be the coaches at the games.
“Next time we send a team to these games, it should not be of only four athletes but it has to be more so I appeal to Basotho in our villages to stop sidelining and hiding their disabled children,” Phamotse said.
“We all have our different health challenges and it’s no point trying to hide those whom we think are different from us. Let us not hide them but give them a chance to also go play with other kids so that they do not get depressed.”
She wished the team luck and said they should behave in a respectable manner because they are representing the country.
“I am happy for you athletes and you should go out there and represent us well and always remember that you are doing this for 2 million Basotho,” Phamotse said.
Special Olympics Lesotho chairperson Makhetha Mosotho said the association held competitions last October where the selection for the four athletes was done.
“This association had not been active for a long time and last year we decided to revamp it and we re-registered with the international body and fortunately our request was admitted. It was then that we decide to host a national tournament where we selected this national team to represent us in Abu Dhabi.
“We have a dedicated team and I believe they will get good results because they are not afraid of challenges. They will make us proud,” Mosotho said.
Lesotho will be among 194 countries and at least 7 000 athletes participating in the games this year.