The country’s teams put up a good performance to win medals for Team Lesotho in the ongoing African Union Sports Council (Region) Region 5 games to rise above the pre-tournament challenges and early tournament disgraceful performances.
The games officially kick-started last week in Maseru and will run till Sunday.
Though the opening was not pleasing to many as Lesotho’s under-17 boys’ soccer team failed to win a single match, while both basketball teams were thumped with huge score margins, it was the Under-18 gymnastics team that came to the party against all odds giving the country the much-needed consolation.
The team won the country’s first medals in the games competitions held at the Moshoeshoe II High School Hall in Matsieng.
Leading to the tournament, the local team had struggled to prepare properly without equipment which only arrived the week of the competitions.
And just days before the official opening ceremony, team Lesotho athletes were left stranded at the Manthabiseng Convention Centre where the send-off was held. The athletes had to sleep at the centre after their buses left them there with no explanation and accommodation was also a crisis at the athlete’s village (National University of Lesotho).
The teams’ Chef De Mission, Caswell Moru later apologised saying that it was a mistake that was a result of misunderstandings between them and the Local Organising Committee (LOC).
Despite all the challenges, the athletics bagged silver medals in both ladies’ and men’s team. Tlotliso Motsamai won a bronze in the men’s individuals.
South Africa was the big winners with gold medals in both ladies and men’s category while Zimbabwe settled for third in the men’s category.
Mozambique took third in the ladies category. Meanwhile, South Africa also won gold and silver in the men’s and ladies’ individuals category.
The coach, Mpho Phakisi, expressed her appreciation of the athletes’ fighting spirit saying she believes had the equipment arrived early the performance would have been a lot better.
“I am happy with the determination of the athletes and hunger to win despite not having been used to the equipment,” Phakisi said.
On the other hand, Lesotho’s Taekwondo athletes have been outstanding from the beginning of their competition. Taekwondo competitions started on Monday at the Lesotho High School Hall.
The trio of Liteboho Mosuhli(46kg) and two males Mpho Mofammere (45kg) and Karabo Thokoa (59kg) won their final matches to win gold medals in their respective classes.
Chao Rantšeli also added to the gold medals with a win in the (68kg) while Nthatisi Molelekoa (49kg) Refiloe Khoete (49kg), Lipotso Ranoka (48kg), Lipuo Molise (59kg) and Lerato Maphathe (51kg) all took home silver medals in their respective categories.
Netball also made it to the podium with bronze medal becoming the first Netball team from Lesotho to win a medal in the AUSC games while South Africa beat Malawi 33-26 in the final to win gold.
As of yesterday, country-tally of medals stood as follows: