Sports

Shot in the arm for athletes

Govt pumps M2 million for Covid-19 relief

Chris Theko

The government of Lesotho has made provision of a sum of M2 million for the athletes through the Covid-19 Sports Task Team. 

The money is meant to relieve the athletes and sports officials who have been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Sports has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak with a lot of sporting codes being inactive since March 2020 when sports activities were suspended. 

Although over the past year some have been able to momentarily resume, that would not last because of changing restrictions that kept being imposed by the government on the advice of the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) because of the pandemic’s scourge over the months. 

The task team’s Information Officer Moshoeshoe Molapo told Newsday Sport that the money received by the task team will be evenly distributed to the most-needy of athletes and officials. 

“We have received money from the government amounting to M2 million, this will go towards relief of the athletes who have suffered badly in the face of the pandemic. 

“The money will not be directed only to certain sporting codes but will be evenly distributed to all the athletes as well as officials who have been badly impacted by the suspension of sport and not being able to work,” Molapo said.

He said the task team has already started working on a plan of how they will be distributing the money and added that they have asked the associations to help them with names of the athletes and officials they have identified as most impacted. 

“We are currently working on a strategy that will help disburse food parcels and cash to the athletes and officials who lost their jobs or means of earning an income due to the pandemic,” he said. 

“To know these people, (athletes and officials) we had to involve our associations to assist us with identifying those who have to benefit from the donation.

“We understand that people endured different losses therefore they will benefit according to the impact sustained,” Molapo said. 

He further stated the deadline for the federations to submit those names as March 30 2021. 

Even though other activities were given the green light during various lockdown stages, sports was one activity that remained suspended since March 2020 with only outdoor sports being allowed to resume before being fully suspended again in January this year. 

Molapo said the identified athletes and officials will receive food parcels and cash that is yet to be decided while the rest of the money will go towards all the sports federations for the procurement of protective personal equipment (PPEs) and preparing for the return of sports.

On behalf of the athletes Moholo Lekomola who is the chairperson of the Athletes Commission (AC) said all the decisions that come from the task team are well approved by the AC.

“All the decisions made by the task team towards the spending of the money are approved by the athletes because we are consulted in the process,” Lekomola said.   

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