Litšitso Khotlele, who was the only athlete representing Lesotho in the just-ended Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will receive a M20 000 golden handshake for hoisting the national flag in the international showbiz.
Speaking at a welcome ceremony held for the Paralympian in Maseru this week, Minister of Gender and Youth, Sport and Recreation Likeleli Tampane, applauded Khotlele for representing the country well.
She said Khotlele put the country on the map, despite the challenges she encountered, adding that people with disabilities form an integral part of society and should always be cherished.
Such people, Tampane said, also need to work hard in order to improve sports for the development of the country in general.
“There is need for involvement of more Basotho in sports so that more athletes could participate in international games. Sports are vital because through them individuals can overcome poverty,” Tampane also said.
Meanwhile, on behalf of the Minister of Social Development, the ministry responsible for inter alia persons with disabilities, Keketso Sello also congratulated Khotlele, for a job well done.
“Sport brings solidarity among nations, creates employment, builds resilience and confidence, as well as promotes good health among all people,” Sello said.
For her part, Khotlele thanked everyone who contributed towards her success, promising to do better in future.
“Like the minister said there is need for more people to engage in sports in order to represent Lesotho in great numbers in the next games,” said Khotlele.
Khotlete, the country’s lone track and field athlete at the games; competed in the discus throw-event for the F61-F64 category on Sunday August 29, 2021.
Among the challenges that she athlete had to overcome in her quest to championship, is the fact that upon its arrival in Tokyo, Team Lesotho was hit by the COVID-19 situation where two of its members tested positive. The two included team coach, Thabiso Ratšoane and the team manager, Stephen Thoahlane.
The duo was immediately taken to a hotel that is specifically assigned for quarantine purposes where they would be monitored for 14 days.
As a result, Team Doctor … and Khotlele were considered as close contacts to those who had tested positive and thus subjected to close monitoring with minimal interaction from the public and other athletes. However, despite the challenges faced by the athletes she was lauded for managing position nine out of 10 where she contested as the only African in her category.
This was Team Lesotho’s sixth appearance at the Summer Paralympic Games after making its debut during the 2000 Sydney Paralympics in Sydney, Australia where Lesotho was represented by two athletes – Levy Moshoeshoe and Limpho Rakoto.
Moshoeshoe competed in the men’s 100m and 200m T46 – his best finish was in seventh position in the 100m during the preliminary rounds with a time of 12.76 while Rakoto competed in the 100m T46, finishing sixth in the preliminary rounds.
The next Paralympics Games will be held in France in 2024.