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What Lesotho needs to do to clinch Olympic medals

“The main problem is that coaching, experience and (sports) governance have never been taken seriously in our preparations for any games,” Moqhali said on Tuesday. Instead, Lesotho has always looked for “short-cuts” to sporting success, he said. Moqhali said Lesotho must set up a four-year Olympics programme to specifically deal with identifying and producing an Olympics champion. “The day that the Olympics Games end, wise countries immediately start preparations for the next Olympic Games,” he said. The next Olympic will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016. Moqhali added that Lesotho must also make use of the professional coaches at its disposal if it is to reverse its sporting misfortunes. “We have trained people who must help in both development and national coaching departments. “But they are not being utilised properly,” he said. Moqhali said Lesotho’s athletes need support so that they do not enter into every race in a bid to make ends meet.

“Our athletes get frustrated and start competing in every marathon without getting enough rest in between races,” he said. He said marathon runners are made and prepared. “Olympians are identified, groomed, trained, retained and prepared for international competitions,” Moqhali said. He said winning gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games was an eight-year process for him. “In 1990, I took part in several marathons. “In 1991, I never competed in any marathon but competed in the 5 000 and 10 000-metre competitions. “In 1992 I ran at the London Marathon and made a personal best of 2:10:55.

“This shows that the more athletes rest, the more they become sharper and increase their speed drastically,” he said. He said Lesotho’s tertiary institutions must incorporate sports programmes in their curricula to retain good athletes. In South Africa, the University of Pretoria has a sports centre which specifically deals with sports people in different codes while in Lesotho there is no world-class sporting centre, he said. Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation, Thesele ’Maseribane, said Lesotho must improve coaching if it is to make an impact at the Games. “We need to improve coaching, empower our structures and restructure our policies to make them more goal-orientated,” ’Maseribane said. Lesotho Swimming Association general secretary, Mafethe Molibetsane, said Lesotho must copy other countries’ best practices and prepare for games well in advance. “We need to start preparing ourselves for the next Olympics now,” Molibetsane said. He said Lesotho’s athletes mustbe exposed to both regional and international competitions for more exposure.

“I have already talked to Swimming South Africa and they are ready to help us in any way that will improve our international performance as a country.

“They are willing to come here and supervise us,” he said. He said Lesotho also lacks infrastructure, something that needs to be attended to urgently.

“Each district must be equipped with at least a 25-metre swimming pool so we can be able to train harder,” Molibetsane said. “We currently have a 21-metre swimming pool at Lehakoe Recreational Centre and training in that pool isn’t helping us much because we are under-training,” he said.

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