THE dreams of seven Lesotho junior weightlifters to participate in the Youth Olympics hang in the balance as their trip for the qualifiers was this week cancelled at the eleventh hour by the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC).
According to the Lesotho Weightlifting Federation (LWF) president, Lebohang Ratšiu, they were left with egg on their faces as both Ministry of Sports and the sports mother body, LSRC, failed finance their trip to Caro, Egypt.
The team was due to depart on Friday for the qualifiers that end on the last day of the month.
Ratšiu said the team that was assembled through a national championship last month in Mohale’s Hoek was supposed to have left the country at least on Friday.
The team was made up of athletes from the ages of 15-19.
“It is disappointing that the team failed to travel,” Ratšiu
“This is a serious tournament where we hoped to qualify for another tournament scheduled for Algeria in July and also the Youth Olympics qualifiers scheduled for Argentina in October.
“I personally wrote to the LSRC and I was told there is no money. I also tried the Ministry of Sports but nothing came from there.”
He said he also told the ministry that they only needed funds to cater for four athletes as the other two and the coach would be funded by the Africa Weightlifting Federation but they said they did not have money for the flights.
The failure has also hindered the president of the federation who was required to attend a congress while he was also scheduled to receive equipment that is scheduled to be handed over to developing countries.
The LSRC acting chief executive officer, Mofihli Makoele, said their duty as to merely request funds from the government.
“International trips are sponsored by the government. Unfortunately, we failed to get the funding when we requested on behalf of LWF,” Makoele said.
Makoele said the government sticks to its own criteria to select which trips to finance.
“I do not even know which criteria the government uses. We just request and wait for their response and we do not get reasons if they decline,” he said.