Lesotho’s athletics team failed to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for this weekend’s African Junior Championship due to lack of funds.
The continental competition gets underway tomorrow and ends on Sunday.
According to the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) Public Relations Officer, Sejaname Maphathe, lack of funding has since affected many of the organisation’s programmes.
Maphathe on Tuesday said the LAAA had not received its M200 000 annual subvention from the Sports Commission for the past two years, thereby compounding its funding woes.
“Unfortunately, our junior team has failed to attend the continental championship in Ethiopia due to lack of funds as we have not been getting money from the Sports Commission as expected,” Maphathe said.
“We are really stuck and the lack of funds is affecting our athletes who should be taking part in different competitions in order to qualify for the All-Africa Games and World Championship to be held later this year.”
Maphathe said the LAAA had still not decided if Lesotho would be represented at next month’s African cross-country championship set for Malawi, again due to lack of funds.
“We are still confident that our team will be able to participate in the cross-country championship to be held in Malawi next month,” said Maphathe.
“This issue of funding is hampering athletics development in this country and hopefully, the issue is going to be resolved soon so that we can continue with our activities.
“We have a number of competitions lined-up but without funding, we cannot go to any of them. And if we don’t compete in such big tournaments, our athletes will never improve, hence our appeal for funding from the relevant authorities.
“I can tell you that we are facing a lot of challenges and even taking (top Mauritius-based sprinter) Mosito Lehata to certain competitions has become a problem as his scholarship has conditions; it cannot take care of all his competition needs. The LAAA is supposed to play a leading role in catering for these athletes as their representative body, but cannot because we simply don’t have the money,” Maphathe said.
Lehata and Lerato Sechele are the only local athletes who are guaranteed places at the World Championship to be held in China in August.
On a positive note, Maphathe said Tšepo Ramonene came second in the 2015 Durban Marathon held last Sunday.
Ramonene pocketed M50 000 for his effort and Maphathe believes the win is going to boost the athlete’s confidence as he battles to qualify for the 2015 All-Africa Games.