The weightlifting senior men’s team is gearing up for the upcoming 2021 African Senior Weightlifting Qualifiers set to take place next month.
The qualifiers which were meant to take place last year were postponed to April 1-8 this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The event is to take place in Antananarivo, Madagascar and will be used as a qualifying scale for the Tokyo Olympics penned in for July and August this year.
Team Lesotho, hopeful for the qualifiers, started their preparation camp a fortnight ago and their coach Relebohile Motjamela said they will be in camp until the last day before departure to Madagascar.
Motjamela indicated that the plan is to leave Lesotho on March 31, 2021. He is currently working with two athletes namely; Thapelo Sebota and Machachamise Ntšinyi.
“Since we started camp I am a bit confident although there is still more time for preparations because we are leaving on 31 March,” Motjamela said.
“I am only working with two weightlifters, Sebota and Ntšinyi and those are the ones going to Madagascar” he said.
However, the two athletes have been inactive since September 2019 when they represented Lesotho at the African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
In the games, they were the only weightlifters for team Lesotho where Ntšinyi finished ninth in the 73kg category while Sebota (61kg) finished sixth.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most sports activities have been on and off due to the restrictions, however, an exception was recently made last month for the athletes preparing for the Olympics.
Although the athletes have been putting in a lot of work in training, their inactivity for over a year in competitive sport poses a threat to them but their coach says the biggest challenge now is the time limitation ahead of the Championship.
“I am more worried about the time we have to prepare than the time they have been dormant for,” he said.
This will be the last opportunity for Lesotho weightlifters to secure a spot at the Olympics at the continental stage but there will be other chances which unfortunately will be out of Africa and Motjamela said it would be extremely expensive to attend for the locals.
No Lesotho weightlifter has ever qualified for the Olympics but the coach is optimistic of a first-time.