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Mokhotho, Suntele excel in Free State



Luciah Phahla


Olympic bound boxers Moroke Mokhotho and Inkululeko Suntele won gold and silver respectively at last week’s invitational boxing tournament in Fouriesburg, South Africa.

According to Lesotho Boxing Association (LEBA) public relations officer Pheello Sofe, the two boxers were fighting against champions from the Free State province.

Sofe said he was pleased with the duo’s performance at the tournament which he described as hard and difficult.

Suntele qualified for Rio in March via the International Boxing Association’s African Olympic qualification tournament in Cameroon while Mokhotho qualified through the Olympic Tripartite Commission which is allocating places at Rio 2016 to deserving athletes from countries that have had less than eight athletes in individual sports at the last two Games.

In total, Lesotho won 11 gold medals at the Fouriesburg event with the majority coming from Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) boxing club.

“It was a good competition for (Mokhotho and Suntele); they played against the Free State champions. It was really a good fight and I think they are well prepared for the Olympics, judging by their performance,” Sofe declared.

“The tournament was of high quality and I think if they continue like this they have a chance to bring a medal in Brazil. Mokhotho won a gold medal while Suntele came (back) with a silver medal,” he added.

Mokhotho and Suntele are in a three-month pre-Olympic camp in Maseru west until they leave for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games starting in August. The Olympic boxing tournaments are scheduled to take place from August 6 to 21.

Sofe also revealed the two boxers will be in action again on June 18 in Welkom in the next phase of their preparations.

He said the LEBA is planning to organise monthly tournaments for Mokhotho and Suntele in order to keep them fit and sharp for the Olympics.

“On the 18th this month we are planning to go to Welkom to take part in a boxing tournament and this is another preparation for them where they will be fighting against the seniors only. Our plan is to have tournaments for (Mokhotho and Suntele) every month,” Sofe said.

“They are now in a three-month camp. If you look back, when they went to Cameroon (in March) they only camped for about two weeks but they still performed well and I think three months is enough for them. They still train twice a day, in the morning at Lehakoe (Recreation Centre) and in the afternoon they train at the (Setsoto) Stadium,” he said.

As things stand, Lesotho will be represented by five athletes at the Olympics in Brazil. The other members of the team are marathon runners Tšepo Mathibelle and Lebenya Nkoka as well as sprinter Mosito Lehata.

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