MASERU – Local Olympics hopeful, Tumelo Makae, is riding at full speed at a world class cycling centre in Paarl, Western Cape in South Africa, where he is preparing for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games.
The games are scheduled for Japan from July 22 – August 9, 2020 and Makae, 22, is yet to qualify for the global event.
Before he relocated to South Africa, the young rider was attached to another top class cycling centre in Switzerland where he remained from February until December last year.
Makae’s manager from the Lesotho Ace Team, Mark West, told Public Eye on Tuesday that his protégé would vie for his first Olympic slot at the African Continental Championships, which will be held in Windhoek, Namibia from April 12 to 14.
West said: “He has been doing mostly road training and racing to build speed and endurance.”
In Paarl, Makae is training alongside Commonwealth bronze medallist Clint Hendricks of SA, among other cyclists who are also preparing for the Olympic Games.
“They are few of them at the moment. But a bigger group will be joining them soon, I guess about 15 riders coming from all over Africa,” he said.
Makae is under the watchful eye of ex-pro track cyclist, Jean-Pierre van Zyl.
Zyl, a former South African Olympic cyclist, was in 2005 appointed head of the cycling development in Africa by the international controlling body (UCI).
Makae represented Lesotho at the last Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia last year, where he appeared on position 19 among 30 competitors.
West said the rider was at the time not at his best form, as he had just started a new training programme in Switzerland.
Another Lesotho cyclist who competed in Gold Coast was Phetetso Monese, who failed to finish the race after his bicycle broke its chain.
Another bike that broke its chain forced him out of the Rio Olympic Games of Brazil in 2016.
Makae is likely to be the only representative of Lesotho in cycling at the upcoming games in Japan.
But West said a decision in that regard is yet to be made by the Federation of Cycling Lesotho (FCL) on the number of riders who will qualify for the games at the African Continental Championships in Namibia.