MASERU – Mosito Lehata, Lesotho’s fastest sprint runner, will miss the forthcoming Tokyo Olympic Games because of a groin injury.
The Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) secretary general Makara Thibinyane, confirmed the sad development, further explaining Lehata was ruled out due to “a sports hernia (a groin kind of injury) he has carried for some time.”
The Olympic Games are set to take place from July 23 to August 8, having been postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thibinyane said Lehata discovered the injury while in camp in Zambia between April and May this year.
The FAL secretary said following the discovery the runner stopped competitive running and was removed from FAL’s list of athletes preparing for both the African Senior Championships and the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The African Senior Championships have since been cancelled after Algeria and later Nigeria pulled out as hosts respectively ahead of the competition which was scheduled for this month.
“Lehata did mention while in Zambia that he sustained a groin injury and after that he never competed again,” said Thibinyane. “As a result, he was no longer part of the team going to the African Senior Championships and the Olympic Games.”
Thibinyane further said Lehata was also warned by medical experts that should he continue competing while still injured he would likely to be out of action for the whole season. Lehata failed to compete at a championship held in Zambia on May 15 because of the same injury.
This means even if the Olympic quota which is often given to top athletes who failed to qualify is granted, Lehata’s participation in the game is out of question. This will be the first time that Lehata misses the Olympic Games since the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Lehata, 32, is the current holder of the national record for the 100 metres at 10.11 seconds; he also represented Lesotho at the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
He was eliminated in the first round of the men’s 200 metres event at the 2012 London Olympic Games, and also failed to impress at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Lesotho has, to date, only two athletes who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games, being the Seutloali couple, Khoarahlane Seutloali and his wife ’Neheng Khatala-Seutloali – both marathon runners.