MASERU – Six Basotho athletes who won the Soweto Marathon in November have now been paid.
The athletes participated in the marathon without clearance certificates from the Lesotho Athletics Amateur Association (LAAA).
The athletics body has since then been refusing to issue the certificates demanding that they first submit their sponsorship contracts to the association.
When the athletes won the Soweto marathon they could not claim their prize monies because they did not have clearance certificates.
Lebenya Nkoka and Mamoroallo Tjoka each got M100 000 for coming first in the male and female categories, respectively.
The other four; Teboho Sello, Motlokoa Nkhabutlane, Moeketsi Mosuhli and Warinyane Lebopo won M50 000, M25 000, M15 000 and M10 000, respectively.
Central Gauteng Athletics general manager Mandla Radebe confirmed these developments to the Lesotho Times on Monday.
“I think they have been paid and if I am not mistaken, they were paid around December,” Radebe said.
Radebe said they were instructed by Athletics South Africa (ASA) to process the athletes’ payments despite the
failure by the athletes to submit the clearance certificates.
“They did not submit the clearance
certificates from their local authorities but that part was dealt with by our
mother body,” he said.
Speaking to the Lesotho Times on Tuesday, Nkoka confirmed they had all received their prize monies.
“It is true that we received the money last month,” Nkoka said.
“We did nothing extraordinary to get the money. We won the marathon fairly before everyone,” he said.
He said they were entitled to have that money because they had worked hard for it.
“We were supposed to get that money because it belonged to us. We worked hard for it,” he said.
LAAA spokesperson Sejanamane Maphathe said ASA had not approached them when they finally decided to release the cash.
“I don’t know if there was anything formal discussed between us and ASA,” Maphathe said.
“We have not issued the clearances and it is news to us that the athletes were paid,” he said.
The athletes were struggling to get their prize monies because the International Associations of Athletics Federation (IAAAF)’s article four states that “no athlete or a club may take part in a foreign country without a written approval of the member to which the athlete or club is affiliated.”
The article further says that “no
member shall allow any foreign athlete or club to enter any competition without such a permit certifying that the athlete or club is permitted to compete in the country.”