News of the banning of 100 and 200meter sprinter Mosito Lehata from all athletics competitions for no less than five years have cast dark cloud over the country’s future and prowess in the sport.
Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) spokesperson Nkuebe Makhalemele told this publication that Lehata’s ban came very unexpected and caught them completely off-guard.
“His suspension has badly hit us and our plans as we hoped to still have him for at least the next two years. So it is going to be tough now for our sprinters without him,” he said.
Asked about whether the athletes are given the education on the type of performance enhancement to use, he said the association has not been providing it.
By his admission, Lehata maintains that he was just unlucky to have been caught with his pants down as he had had no intention of breaking the rules by taking forbidden substances, adding that he had only taken asthma medication.
Talking via his social media platforms, Lehata appologised to his fans, family, friends and the public for the comeuppance.
“Every action has a consequence. Either it was unintentional or intentional. I have been in athletics for 14 years and I am proud of everything I have accomplished,” Lehata said in a post.
The athlete further apologized for his actions and the position he finds himself in which was led to by a mistake.
“I made one mistake in 14 years and I have to pay for it. I took asthma medication and it got me in trouble. For those that I have disappointed, I apologize to you,” he said.
Lehata tested positive to a forbidden substance and was charged with attempted tampering with the doping Control Process. He is said to have tested positive to Salbutamol.
The 2015 Athletics African Champion silver medalist admitted in a social media post to have taken a substance that is known as.
According to SAIDS, a South African outfit whose mission is to detect, deter and prevent the use of prohibited substances and methods in the SA and international sporting environment that are contrary to the principles of fair play and the health and well-being of athletes, Lehata tested positive for the presence of Salbutamol and was charged with attempted tampering with the doping control process.
SAIDS says the athlete has accordingly been sanctioned for five years following two anti-doping rule violations.
He admitted to the charges and waived his right to a hearing. He entered into a ‘Results Management Agreement’ that resulted in a reduction in his sanction.
His period of ineligibility began on June 9 from the date of Voluntary Acceptance of Provisional Suspension and will serve until June 8, 2026.
“For all the young athletes coming up, you don’t have to make the same mistakes I have made, learn from my mistakes. Always be careful of what you take,” he said.
Addressing the claim about asthma medication as well as whether or not an asthmatic person can become an athlete, medical practitioner, Dr. Lerato Mothae, said a person who has asthma can compete in sport although such is risky.
“It’s a brave move for any person who has asthma to be athletic especially where running is involved because that person can run out of air at any point,” Mothae said.
Meanwhile, Lehata follows in the footsteps of ’Mamoroallo Tjoka and Sekeke Lesole who were sanctioned for two years and stripped off the 2014 Mokhotlong High Altitude Summer marathon first and third position titles respectively after testing positive for banned performance enhancing drugs.
In 2018, SAIDS handed Tjoka an eight-year suspension from participating in any national and international competitions after she allegedly evaded a doping test earlier that year when the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO) and SAIDS representatives visited her home in Sekamaneng, Berea and she had requested the court to intervene.