Sole Paralympian bears Olympic medal hope



MASERU – The Lesotho team headed to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games have one thing on their minds, that is, to put on a good show and win a medal for the country. Therefore, all eyes are now on Litšitso Khotlele. This after the country’s marathon duo, Khoarahlane Seutloali and ’Neheng Khatala, failed to impress at the just-ended Tokyo Olympic Games. Khotlele, 37, is going to represent Lesotho at the upcoming Summer Paralympic Games, also to be held in Tokyo, Japan from August 24 to September 5.

According to Khotlele’s coach to the Tokyo Games, Thabiso Ratšoane, Khotlele is going to be the country’ sole Paralympian in Tokyo after she qualified out of other six local Paralympic athletes who were also given an opportunity for qualification during the South African Sports Association of the Physically Disabled (SASAPD) which were held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on April 28 this year.

Khotlele is set to compete in women’s discus. “She has qualified for the upcoming Paralympics during the South African Sports Association of the Physically Disabled National Championship which was held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on April 28 this year,” said Ratšoane in an interview with Public Eye.   The qualification standard for Paralympic Games, according to Ratsoane, was 18 metres and he said Khotlele had registered an impressive qualifying standard to book a slot at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

“The qualifying standard for her class (which is S64) was 18 metres and she made 20.34 metres,” Ratšoane said. Khotlele’s preparation, the coach continued, had been intensified with a camp ahead of the Tokyo competition. He said she had been in camp for four weeks together with other local Paralympic athletes who were part of the camp just to help her intensify and sharpen her skills ahead of the Games. Khotlele and her coach left for Tokyo on August 18.

Ratšoane said just like any coach or athlete who is preparing for any competition, he is confident that the athlete will put up a good performance in Tokyo. “Like anyone who leaves their country for a competition, I am confident that we will do well at the upcoming Paralympic Games,” he said. Khotlele echoed her coach saying she is looking forward to the Games. “I am ready for the competition and I am going there with the determination to win,” said Khotlele speaking to Public Eye before they left for Tokyo.

This is going to be Khotlele’ second time competing in the Paralympic Games. Her Paralympics debut was the Rio 2016 Paralympics Games where she got position 10 in the same women’s discus (S64). Khotlele represented the country in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with Sello Mothebe, who also struggled in the 100 metres race (T12). Lesotho started competing in Paralympic Games with the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, and is yet to win a medal from the games.


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