Sports

Gloomy showing for Team Lesotho at Commonwealth Games

Chris Theko

Team Lesotho has struggled to come to the party in scooping medals at the ongoing 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games in England.

The Mountain Kingdom has been taking to the track and field with 21 athletes, six females and 15 males with athletes competing in athletics, para-athletics, boxing, cycling, and weightlifting, has been on a quest to increase the number of medals collected in the Games since their first participation in 1974. 

Opening up Team Lesotho appearance in this games was Qhobosheane Mohlerepe winning by 5:0 on points against Atmatzidis Odysseas from Cyprus in men’s preliminaries (60-63.5kg) Boxing on day 1 (Friday). Thus, he advanced to last 16.

However, Mohlerepe was to face a tough challenge in trying to advance to the quarterfinals but lost 5-0 on points to Wyatt Sanford of Canada in men’s over 60-63.5kg category.

On day two, (Saturday) Team Lesotho was looking at female marathoner Mokulubete Makatisi who put up a good fight in the race although she settled for a position 8 finish though recording a personal best of 2:36:05.  

In the males’ category, veteran marathoner Lebenya Nkoka finished in position 15 with a seasonal best of 2:32:52 while Ts’epo Mathibelle also made a seasonal best of 2:38:52 finishing in 17th place.

Motlokoa Nkhabutlane didn’t finish the race.

Veteran boxer, Moroke Mokhotho (54-57kg) lost to Ilyas Hussain of Pakistan in the second round on “Referee stop contest” while Arena Pakela (67-71kg) advanced to last 16 after a victory over Isaac Zebra of Uganda. Pakela won by 4:1 on points.

The only Lesotho weightlifter at the games, Thapelo Sebota recorded a total lift of 186kg (80kg in snatch and 106kg in clean and jerk) to finish at position eight in the men’s 61kg final.

On day four of the games (Monday) the attention moved back to boxing where young boxer, Rets’elisitsoe Kolobe lost his round of 16 fight with RSC (referee stops contest) to Jake Dodd of Wales in the men’s over 48-51kg (flyweight).

Later on the day, Arena Pakela lost his round of 16 light middle category (over 67-71kgkg) fight by 5-0 on points to Aidan Walsh of Northern Ireland. Thus he didn’t advance to the quarterfinals.

As the focus shifted back to athletics on day 5 (Tuesday) Commonwealth Games debutant Mojela Koneshe finished fourth in the men’s 100m round 1- heat 2 clocking 10.46 which was not enough to take him anywhere further. Meanwhile, ‘Manqabang Tsibela ran the women’s 800m round 1- heat 1 in 2:13.34 which saw her finish in position 6. She also didn’t make it to the next stage.

A lot was expected from veteran mountain bike cyclists, Tumelo Makae and Phethetso Monese who were representing the county on day six in TB cross country. However, the pair got lapped in their race meaning they didn’t complete the race.

Later on day six, ‘Neheng Khatala who had opted to run a shorter 10 000m race, recorded a personal best of 33:27.35 and a 12th place finish, followed closely by countrywoman ‘Mathakane Lestsie who also made a personal best of 36:50.62 which saw her settle for position 13.

Speaking to Newsday Sports from Birmingham following her race, Letsie said she did not get enough time to prepare having only returned from a Two Oceans Marathon where she competed in a 56km marathon.

“I was not well prepared for track but I had to choose between the 10 000m and the 42km so I chose to run the 10 000 because I had recently come back from competing at the two Oceans Marathon and could not handle another marathon,” Letsie said.

The athlete who is not new to the Commonwealth Games having competed in a marathon at the Glasgow Games in 2014, stated that such games require adequate training and preparation time which is what they did not have.

She, however, said what she achieved was beyond what she could have expected.

“I did not get enough time to prepare but I’m still happy to have achieved a personal best which is beyond what I had expected given that I don’t normally compete in short races,” she said.

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