LAAA’s uphill battle ahead of world champs 

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Mosito Lehata

Mikia Kalati

THE Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) is worried by the declining standards of athletes as the athletics body races against time to ensure their team qualifies for the August World Championships in London, England.

Star sprinter Mosito Lehata finished first in Botswana’s Gaborone International Meeting over the weekend but still fell short of meeting the qualifying times.

He clocked 10:20 seconds to finish ahead of the Zambian duo of Sidney Siame and Hazemba Chindamba.

Only three marathon runners, Motlokoa Nkhabutlane, Lebenya Nkoka and Tšepo Mathibelle have met the qualifying standards but they are still to confirm their availability for the London games.

Speaking with the Lesotho Times this week, Maphathe said they were worried that most athletes had failed to meet the qualifying standards for the London games which will be the last major competition for World Champion, Usain Bolt.

“Mosito came first but did not meet the qualifying standards and I think that is worrying because his times are not consistent,” Maphathe said, adding, “He clocked 10:20, having done 10:15 in another race in Mauritius early this year”.

“We think the solution would be to take him away from competing in these small races and organise a tour of Europe where he can compete against the best.”

Maphathe said they remained hopeful that Lehata and other seasoned athletes such as Namakoe Nkhasi would qualify although time was not on their side.

He also said that triple jump athlete Lerato Sechele was in France in an effort to book his place in London.

The LAAA publicist said financial problems also contributed to the declining standards as they could not afford to take athletes to big competitions across Europe which would aid their development.

“Our neighbours, South Africa send their athletes to compete in Europe regularly and they also host competitions regularly.

“Unfortunately we do not have that kind of luxury but we have to review the way we have been working and it would help if our athletes competed in bigger competitions in Europe so that they test themselves against the best.

“Nkhabutlane did very well in Europe at the recent Paris Marathon finishing among the top ten runners,” he said.

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