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More athletes qualify for Rio Games



Luciah Phahla


Two more Lesotho athletes have secured their spots at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The two are Nomakoe Nkhasi and Tšepang Sello who qualified at last weekend’s Africa Senior Championships held in Durban, South Africa.

Their Rio qualification takes the number of track and field athletes to five. They join sprinter Mosito Lehata and marathon runners Tšepo Mathibelle and Lebenya Nkoka on the plane to Brazil in August.

In total, Team Lesotho currently has seven competitors with boxers Moroke Mokhotho and Inkululeko Suntele also Olympic-bound.

Speaking last Monday, Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) public relations officer Sejanamane Maphathe said the LAAA is pleased to have two names added to its list of Olympians.

“We are really happy to now have five athletes to represent us at the Olympics. We would have loved to send seven or ten athletes but some did not qualify. But, we are still happy with the ones that have qualified,” Maphathe told thepost.

He added: “This time we will be represented in different (track and field) categories. Before (Nkhasi and Sello) qualified we only had Mosito and two marathoners and you could say we were only sending two types of athletes. But, now that (Nkhasi and Sello) will be running in different categories we are really happy. If you look back, in 2008 in China we only sent marathoners (to the Beijing Olympics) but now we will be represented in three categories.”

Nkhasi qualified in the 5 000 metres where he finished sixth in a time of 13:21.58 minutes. The Mokhotlong born Nkhasi was raised in South Africa. Maphathe said Nkhasi first represented Lesotho earlier this year in Botswana. He has never competed at the Olympics before.

Sello is also based in South Africa. She qualified for Rio after placing fourth in the 1500 metres in a time of 4:13.29 minutes.

“Nkhasi is 23-years-old, (he is) from Mokhotlong. He has been living in South Africa and participating in different events there. Durban was his second appearance for Lesotho. He will be representing Lesotho at the Olympics for the first time,” Maphathe said.

Meanwhile, in-form sprinter Lehata ran a best personal time of 10.04 seconds to win silver in the 100 metres at the Africa Senior Championships. His previous best was 10.11 set last April.


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