MASERU – The Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) has revealed athletes’ financial backing for the upcoming Olympic Games preparations. The upcoming Olympic Games are scheduled to take place from July 26 to August 11, 2024 in Paris, France. According to the LNOC Chief Executive Officer, Morake Raleaka, Lesotho athletes who are preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will spend over M6 million as a preparation investment through the Olympic Solidarity sponsorship.
Among those athletes to benefit from the LNOC’s preparation investment are: ’Neheng Khatala, Tumelo Makae and Michelle Tau. Tau will earn M22,500 from LNOC monthly, while Khatala, Makae, Mojela Koneshe, ’Mamakoli Senauoane and Tebello Ramokongoana will all be paid M18,000.00 monthly. These athletes would be getting the preparations payments for 32 months, starting from January this year until August 2024.
“Since the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games are being administered by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee or the CGA (Commonwealth Games of Lesotho), it is the responsibility of LNOC to make sure that those athletes are prepared for such games,” said Raleaka at a press briefing at LNOC premises on Tuesday this week. “Such preparation should happen on time in order to ensure that when we go to the Olympic Games or Commonwealth Games our athletes will be ready for the competition.” Releaka said LNOC had consulted the national federations to get information about opportunities that may be available at their international federations’ level in terms of the athletes’ rankings and then made proposals to the Olympic Solidarity for funding.
“So we have managed to mobilise M6, 060,000 which specifically goes to the athletes and we have divided it into three categories of the Olympic scholarship programmes. “LNOC is already giving it to the athletes so that they can prepare for any games from today as I am speaking to you until we get to the 2024 Paris Games.” The three Olympic scholarship programmes Raleaka is talking about are: Olympic scholarships, high performance scholarships and the team support grant.
“The Olympic scholarships are worth M3,600,000, high performance scholarships are at M960,000 and team support is worth M1,500,000. “That’s our investment to the athletes from January 2022 to August 2024.” Athletes who are under the high performance scholarships include Lerato Sechele, Toka Badboy, Motlokoa Nkhabutlane, Machachamise Ntsinyi and Ramohanoe Ramohanoe. All of these athletes each get M6,000.00 monthly. The team support grant goes to a rugby sevens team and a women volleyball team, each of which will be paid M50,000.00 monthly.
Raleaka said LNOC had also molised M1,575,000.00 for what they called national federation support services. He said that was for capacity building programmes such as a sports administration course, an advanced sport management course and an international executive course in sports management. Lesotho is currently preparing for the upcoming Commonwealth Games which have been scheduled to take place from July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, England this year.
The Mountain Kingdom has won three medals from the Commonwealth Games to date, while it is yet to win an Olympic medal. The three Commonwealth medals were won by the veteran marathoner, Thabiso Moqhali and two veteran boxers, Letuka Sephula and Moses Kopo, respectively. Moqhali won a gold medal from the 1998 Commonwealth Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sephula clinched bronze from the 2002 Games held in Manchester, England while Kopo took a silver from the 2006 Games held in Melbourne, Australia.