MASERU – Lesotho’s road-runner, ’Mamosebetsi Khajoane, has set eyes on the next Olympic Games scheduled to take place in Paris, France, next year. Khajoane, who has never represented the country in any big international athletics event, says the moment is ripe for her to make it big in athletics. “I would like to represent my country at the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in either 10km, 21.1 km or 42.2km,” said Khajoane in an interview with Public Eye.
“I know it won’t be easy, but I am determined to achieve that and I will push myself hard to realise my dream.” Khajoane has over 12 months to qualify for the Olympics and she must compete in neighbouring South Africa, amongst other countries, in order to be able to register international standard times for the Paris games and others. “Of course, I will have to qualify in order to represent my country at the Olympics and I am aware that I will have to compete in South Africa to be able to register international standard times since there are no races in the country,” she added.
Khajoane, who is celebrating her 29th birthday this coming Monday, revealed her intentions after making it to second position at the Rock City Ladies 10km in Sasolburg, South Africa, a fortnight ago. The Mokhotlong-born runner clocked 38 minutes and 48 seconds (38:48) in the race which also incorporated male athletes for the first time in history. Khajoane achieved this feat in her debut in the South African road race. “The race was tough and again it was very cold,” said Khajoane. “It was my first appearance and I have tried my level best.”
However, Rock City Ladies was not Khajoane’s first race in South Africa. She ran the Kloppers 10km hosted by Achilles Club in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in February this year – which she won in 39 minutes and 40 seconds. “I am happy because I have improved my time (from 39:40 to 38:48 in 10km),” Khajoane said. “I also ran another 10km race in South Africa in March this year which I also won.” Khajoane further said: “But it was one of those small races with low competition.”
Khajoane’s next race will be the Tšakholo 21.1km penciled for Tšakholo, in Mafeteng, next month. “I am currently preparing for Tšakholo 21.1km which is set to take place in September,” she said. Khajoane would also like to compete at this year’s Soweto Marathon in South Africa. “I once competed at the 21.1km of the Soweto Marathon in 2016 and came on position six. I would like to run it again this year, but it will depend on my fitness.” Khajoane, who is a former member of the Nedbank Club, is currently with LMPS Athletics Club.