The new Olympic Solidarity Scholarships beneficiaries list was released by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) last week.
The list consists of six athletes made up of three females and three males who are meant to prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and will be part of the programme from this year until 2024.
The beneficiaries are ‘Neheng Khatala-Seutloali, Mamakoli Senauoane, Michelle Tau, Tumelo Makae, Mojela Koneshe and Tebello Ramakongoana.
For Khatala, the scholarship will come in handy in assisting her to prepare well in an attempt to qualify for her second Olympics outing after making her debut at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in Japan.
18-year-old Senauoane is one of the youngest and promising female athletes in the country and will be looking to secure a place to represent the country at next Olympics.
While taekwondo female athlete Tau has been a beneficiary before, the first time around was not a straight-up scholarship because she was self-sponsoring. She was based at the Taekwondo Centre in Germany in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which she, however, did not make the cut for.
Previous recipients of the scholarship who were under the program from 2017 to 2020 included Moroke Mokhotho (Boxing), Tumelo Makae, (cycling), Marumo Moloisane (taekwondo), Mosito Lehata, Lerato Sechele and Tšepang Sello (all from athletics).
Makae has been granted the scholarship for the second. He was based in Switzerland at the World Cycling Centre for his initial stint.
Meanwhile, Sprinter Koneshe and marathoner Ramakongoana are debutants.
The list was confirmed the LNOC High Performance Coordinator, Likeleko Lepitla on Wednesday saying the list of Olympic Solidarity recipients has been compiled.
“The list is for recipients of the scholarship for the term to run until the next Olympics. We are, however, yet to determine each of the athletes’ training base.
“The scholarships are aimed at helping them in their qualifications journey towards the Olympics and other international games such as this year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games,” Lepitla said.
The LNOC has also identified five elite athletes who will be sponsored under the LNOC High Performance programme for the next four years.
The athletes are Lerato Sechele (Triple Jump) Motlokoa Nkhabutlane, Toka Badboy (both from athletics), Ramohanoe Ramohanoe (cycling) and Machachamise Ntšinyi (weightlifting).
According to Lepitla, the intention is to add some more young athletes to the list.
“We are still going to add some more athletes under the high performance programme because, as you can see, we still have only the elite athletes so far,” she said.
The Olympic Solidarity scholarship is meant to organize assistance for all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) particularly those who perform well but have the greatest needs to enhance their performance and is funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). While the High Performance is fully funded by the NOC specifically for athletes identified by the National Federations.