MASERU — Lesotho is expected to make history this year when it sends its first swimmer to participate at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the Lesotho Times heard this week.
Lesotho Swimming Association general secretary Molibeli Mafethe confirmed that ’Masempe Theko will be competing at the Olympic Games that kicks off on July 27.
Mafethe said they had received correspondence from the Federation Internationale De Natation stating that Theko was eligible to compete at the prestigious games based on her past record.
“’Masempe Theko has been cleared by Fina and she is eligible to compete at this year’s Olympic Games based on her past record,” Mafethe said.
He said the 24-year-old swimming sensation was given the nod based on her last year’s performance at the World Junior Swimming Championships in Shanghai, China.
“Although she did not collect any medal from last year’s youth championships, her performance showed that she has the potential to turn into a star if given opportunities like this one,” he said.
He said both the association and Theko were yet to decide which stroke she was going to compete in during the London games.
“We’ve not yet decided which stroke she is going to compete in, we will just have to wait until she starts her training so she can decide which one she is more comfortable with,” he said.
He said they were still waiting for the Lesotho National Olympic Committee to finance Theko’s preparations for the games.
“We are yet to receive funding for her preparations from the Olympic Committee and as soon as that has been cleared, she will start training,” he said.
Meanwhile, ’Mamoroallo Tjoka, dubbed the “Queen of Soweto”, failed to book her ticket to the Olympics two weeks ago.
Tjoka came second at the Edinburg Marathon Festival in Scotland, running the 42.2 kilometre marathon in two hours 40 minutes, eight minutes ahead of qualifying time in the B Standard.
Fellow country-man Tsotang Maine failed to qualify for the games despite coming fourth in the same marathon.
Maine could only finish the race in 2 hours 22 minutes, four minutes less than the set 2:18 qualifying standard.
Maine also failed to improve his personal best of 2:14.
The 42.2 km marathon stars Jobo Khatoane, Tsepo Ramonene, Mabuthile Lebopo, Motlokoa Nkhabutlane and Tiisetso Ramokheseng have already booked their tickets to the Olympic Games.
The London 2012 Olympic Games are set to run from July 27 to August 12.