THE Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) has hailed triple jumper Lerato Sechele who recently won a bronze medal at the African Senior Championship in Nigeria.
Sechele defied the odds and travelled to Nigeria despite losing her father days before the trip.
LAAA public relations officer Sejanamane Maphathe told the Lesotho Times that Sechele was not discouraged even after the loss but was instead inspired to honour her late father with a spirited performance.
Sechele and Tšepang Sello represented the country at the competitions while Mosito Lehata withdrew due to a calf injury.
“We are very excited as the association especially after the athlete left for Nigeria under difficult circumstances,” Maphathe said.
“She lost her father and it is not an easy for anyone. His father will be buried this coming weekend but she was determined and did well in memory of her father.”
Maphathe said Sechele was hurt by her father’s demise as he had mentored her throughout the years.
“Her father was always behind his daughter and before she left for Nigeria she even said she would win a medal for her father.
“We are grateful for her bravery despite the bereavement,” Maphathe said.
Despite going all the way to clinch bronze against all odds, Sechele missed out on qualifying for the continental championship to be held in Ostrava in September.
However, Maphathe admitted that Sechele has improved since her unsuccessful tenure in Senegal on a a two-year Olympic Solidarity Scholarship programme that ended after the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“She has improved a lot and it is clear from the results. I think we should take the blame as administrators for taking her to Senegal and wasting a lot of her time there.
“Her standards had dropped badly at that time so much that a lot of people had already given up on her. However, she is back to her best and I think there is still a lot to come from her because she also did very well at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier this year where she came fourth.
“It is different now and we can all see that she is getting her confidence back and the bronze medal that she won in Nigeria will be good motivation for her to win more in future,” Maphathe said.