Local athletes have expressed disappointment at the Lesotho Sport and Recreational Commission (LSRC) for its failure to deliver on the Lesotho Annual Sports Awards (LASA) prizes, five months later.
The third edition of the awards was hosted by the commission and to this date athletes have not received their prizes, Newsday Sports has learned.
The athletes’ long awaited M5 000 incentives for this year’s episode have not reached the winners of the competitions which were held at the ‘Manthabiseng Conversion Centre on April 9.
Although some athletes are hopeful that the prizes will eventually arrive, Lesotho’s Chess starlet, Tokelo Klaas who won the Sports Star of the year, told this paper that the delay impedes progress on their side.
“The delay of the prize money has affected our progress. Since it was much anticipated and we had plans on it. It has become impossible for us to buy new equipment, thus hindering our participation at the international tournaments in South Africa among other things,” Klaas said.
He added, “Although the Chess Federation Lesotho provides us with transport most of the time, they do not do so with every tournament, placing us in a situation where we are sometimes bound to finance our participation in certain tournaments.”
“I have learned from the spokesperson of the federation who has been in touch with the Commission that it does not have money,” he said.
Lesotho’s triple jump sensational medalist, Lerato Sechele on the other hand pointed out that the delay may cause loss of interest from other athletes.
“It is painful to be promised something which is subsequently not fulfilled. This inconsistency is going to make it difficult for other athletes to trust these awards because we budgeted for the prize monies and if the money does not come, this hampers our progress,” she stressed.
She added, “The other irking thing is that when you try to fight for your rights in Lesotho, things bounce back at your face, even ending up ruining one’s career. We are taken for granted and treated like children where we don’t have to say a word or voice our grievances in fear of unfair consequences we might face.”
“We have to trust our high officials that when they have promised something, it should be fulfilled,” the athlete said.
The LSRC spokesperson, Teboho Rakhomo in a separate interview with this reporter confirmed that winners have not yet been incentivised, although he shied away to answer the ‘why’ question.
“I have just learned lately that the winners of the awards have not been given their prize monies. I am still trying to find out why they as I am not privy to the holdup,” he said as he declined to answer further questions by this reporter.