MASERU — Lesotho’s hopes of clinching its first medal at the London Olympics Games were on Tuesday extinguished when sprinter Mosito Lehata finished last in the 200-metre race.
Lehata finished last in heat one in 20 seconds 74 mini-seconds.
Up against the likes of Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, the 22-year-old athlete went into the competition as an underdog but still managed to put a heroic fight for his country.
Blake came first in 20.38, 37 mini-seconds faster than Lehata.
Lesotho began its campaign at the Olympics last Friday with swimmer ’Masempe Theko finishing last in the group stage.
’Mamoroallo Tjoka also failed to live up to expectations after a dismal performance in the 42.2-kilometres marathon on Sunday.
Tjoka finished 90th in a competition that was contested by 107 female runners from around the globe.
Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) spokesperson, Sejanamane Maphathe, said Lehata must be commended for his performance on Tuesday.
“We must congratulate the boy for his performance despite coming last,” Maphathe said.
“He was up against top athletes in the world and going into the competition as an underdog, the boy did a sterling job.”
Maphathe said Lehata might have been affected by fatigue.
“As administrators, I think we must shoulder the blame here because this boy has within a month been travelling from Mauritius to Lesotho, from Lesotho to Wales and from Wales to London,” Maphathe said.
“Some of these top athletes Lehata was up against started their training sessions way back in May and have been staying (in London) to avoid travelling fatigue,” he said.
Travelling can cause fatigue and affect an athlete’s performance, he said.
“We must in future draw a clear plan for our athletes, decide if they go stay in a competition venue ealier or go there just in time for a competition,” he said.
Lehata’s Tuesday time was a clear indication that something wrong happened.
“This just shows that something went wrong and I strongly suspect it is travelling fatigue,” he said.
Maphathe said there was also need to congratulate Tjoka.
“She finished the race in 2:43 and that is within her past recorded times. She has been finishing and winning races within this time and despite finishing 90th, she tried her best,” he said.
Lesotho’s last hope of winning a medal now lies on Tšepo Ramonene.
Ramonene will be competing in the 42.2km marathon on Sunday.