SIX of the country’s top athletes have been handed a huge boost after receiving Olympic Solidarity scholarships which will enable them to adequately prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
These include Mosito Lehata and Tšepang Sello (athletics) who will undergo training at the University of the Free State Sports Science Institute (FSSSI) where they will rub shoulders with 400 world champion South African, Wade Van Niekerk.
Marumo Moloisane (Taekwondo) will train at the Taekwondo Competence Centre in Germany.
Lerato Sechele (athletics), Moroke Mokhotho (boxing) and Tumelo Makae (cycling) are the three athletes that will be under domestic placement and train in Lesotho.
Lehata, Mokhotho and Sechele were all on the last Olympic Scholarship prior to the Rio Olympics in Brazil in 2016
Lehata was based in Mauritius, Sechele in Senegal and Moroke on domestic placement.
Lesotho National Olympic Committee secretary general Morake Raleaka (LNOC) revealed the latest developments on Tuesday, adding that he was hopeful Lehata would finally live up to the promise he showed a few years ago.
The scholarship programme will run from 2017 to 2020.
“All in all we have secured scholarships for six athletes,” Raleaka said, adding, “We are now negotiating for the cyclist to be in Switzerland at the World Cycling Centre.”
Raleaka said Lehata had the most expensive scholarship which will see the runner under the mentorship of Wade Van Niekerk’s coach, Ans Botha, who helped the South African become a world champion.
“Lehata’s budget is bigger than everybody else’s and it’s a decision we made internally because we have secured placement under Ans Botha who is a coach of Wade.
“Pressure will come with training with Wade and other athletes under her wing so this is why we had to create a package that will suit him so that he does not feel under pressure. We are giving him an elite package and he is going to enjoy the best facility.
“Other than that we are also giving him M14 000 per month which pretty much covers all his needs.”
Raleaka said Lehata was already in Bloemfontein.
He said other athletes would receive M9000 per month from now until 2020.
The Olympic Scholarship for Athletes is a programme by Olympic Solidarity (OS) that offers National Olympic Committees (NOCs) the possibility to obtain financial and technical assistance for a limited number of elite athletes who are training and attempting to qualify for Olympic Games. The Scholarship objective is mainly to assist selected and proposed elite athletes by their NOCs in their preparation and qualification for the XXXII Olympiad, Tokyo 2020.