LAAA mulls ‘punishment’ for poor performers

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MASERU — The Lesotho Athletics Amateur Association (LAAA) wants athletes who “humiliate” the country in international events banned for three months.

The proposed punishment will be deliberated at the association’s annual general meeting on October 30.

The LAAA sought to take the drastic measure in the wake of Lesotho’s pathetic performance at the recent Commonwealth Games in India.

LAAA spokesperson Sejanamane Maphathe told the Lesotho Times the association suspected athletes were deliberately underperforming while on national duty.

“We have the suspicion that they do not work hard to win races while they are on national assignments,” Maphathe said.

Lesotho ended a forgettable 2010 Commonwealth Games on the worst possible note with two of the country’s long-distance athletes finishing dead last in the women’s marathon last Thursday.

In fact, Lineo Lebotha and Refiloe Khechane finished a full hour after the winner had already crossed the line in Delhi.

Lesotho’s other athlete in the women’s marathon, ‘Mamohau Tene, performed a little better as she finished 12th in a field of 15 athletes.

In the men’s marathon, Tlhoriso Limo was the only one of Lesotho’s participants to finish the race although he crossed the line last.

The other members of the team, Sechaba Bohosi and Tiisetso Ramokheseng, both failed to finish the race.

Maphathe said the LAAA was not convinced the athletes had genuine reasons for their failure in India.

“For instance, Sechaba said he failed to finish the race because his toe was painful yet Lineo managed to complete the race with a bleeding toe,” he said.

“We are going to ask the AGM to endorse our decision not to give any athletes who fail to finish a race or intentionally perform dismally permits to run in international marathons for three months.

“We need to tighten our rules if we want these athletes to bring this country a medal in future.”

Maphathe said it seemed local athletes tended to perform well in events they entered as individuals.

“They are full of disappointment while on national duty because they want to concentrate on individual races,” he charged.

“Because they do this to concentrate on individual races, we will tighten our rules by not giving them permits for three months.

“They will need to suffer for three months just like the nation is suffering now because of their individualism.”

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