Athletes might lose Soweto winnings

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MASERU — Six local athletes might be forced to forfeit their Soweto Marathon prize monies for competing without clearance letters from the national authority.

This was disclosed to the Lesotho Times yesterday by Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) general manager Mandla Radebe whose association is in charge of the marathon.

Lebenya Nkoka and Mamoroallo Tjoka won the male and female categories of the marathon respectively.

They are each entitled to M100 000 in prize money.

But they might not get the money unless they produce clearance letters from the Lesotho Athletics Amateur Association (LAAA).

They were among at least 13 local athletes who were forced to run the Soweto Marathon without clearance letters from the LAAA.

The LAAA insisted it could only grant them the permits if they submitted their personal sponsorship contracts to the association first.

After a deadlock, the athletes proceeded to compete in the marathon without the clearance letters.

Yet the International Association of Athletics Federation’ Article 4 says: “No athlete or a club may take part in a foreign country without a written approval of the member to which the athlete or club is affiliated.”

Four other local athletes — Teboho Sello, Motlokoa Nkhabutlane, Moeketsi Mosuhli and Warinyane Lebopo — finished the marathon in second, third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.

They too might not get their prize monies of M50 000, M25 000, M15 000 and M10 000 respectively.

Radebe said CGA had written letters to the athletes’ teams asking for the clearance letters before the prize monies can be released.

“We have actually indicated that the Basotho athletes eligible for Soweto Marathon prize monies must submit clearances from their country,” he said.

“They have not responded officially but if the athletes fail to produce the clearances we will be forced not to give them the prize monies because one is not allowed to receive the prize without a clearance.”

Radebe said they normally allow athletes to only produce clearances from their relevant authorities after the completion of the marathon.

“We allowed them to compete because that is the norm,” he said.

“They are normally asked to produce the clearances after the completion of the marathon if they are eligible for prize monies.”

The athletes are now seeking the intervention of the Ministry of Sports over their dispute with the LAAA.

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