Ramakongoana and Makatisi prepare for the African Beach Games.



MASERU – After setting new national records in the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon last weekend, top local marathoners Tebello Ramakongoana and Mokulubete Makatisi have now turned their attention to the African Beach Games. The upcoming continental showpiece is scheduled for Hammamet, Tunisia, from June 23–30.

The men’s and women’s 10-kilometer races will both be held on June 28. According to the Secretary General of the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL), Makara Thibinyane, both Ramakongoana and Makatisi are currently preparing for the races.

Last Sunday in Gqeberha, South Africa, Ramakongoana, 26, finished second in the men’s division of the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon, recording 1:00:35, while Makatisi, 27, finished sixth in the women’s category in 1:09:44. The two athletes set new national records.

According to Thibinyane, the Lesotho team’s strong showing in the upcoming African Beach Games and the recently ended Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon will help them prepare for this year’s edition of the World Athletics Championships, which will be held in Budapest, Hungary, from August 19–27.

In an interview with Public Eye on Monday, Thibinyane said: “The two really put up an improved performance because they set new records at the national level. “So we are hopeful that they will represent the country well at the World Championships.

“Ramakongoana qualified for the World Champs through the world rankings, while chances are high for Makatisi to also qualify as the World Athletics recently identified her as the next second-best athlete after Ramakongoana on the national rankings.

“So we expect the World Athletics to confirm her qualification for the World Championships, and of course I think she is going to make it, and this will be her maiden appearance at the event,” Thibinyane said. But Ramakongoana will be competing at the World Athletics Championships for the second time. At the 2017 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA, he debuted in the men’s marathon and appeared in position 35.

In order to qualify for both the World Athletics Championships and the Olympic Games in Paris, France, next year, Ramakongoana is anticipated to improve on his time there.

According to Thibinyane, FAL is behind Makatisi so that she can also qualify for the Paris Olympic Games. If Makatisi qualifies for both the World Athletics Championships and the Olympic Games, it will be her maiden appearance at the two global showpieces.

She made her debut international appearance at last year’s edition of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, where she was number eight in the women’s marathon. Thibinyane said competing at the ANOCA African Beach Games will be crucial for both Makatisi and Ramakongoana ahead of both the World Athletics Championships and the Olympic Games.

“It is going to be a good preparation for both of them since running on sand (at the ANOCA African Beach Games) is always a bit difficult, and so that is going to help them build strength, especially after putting up an impressive performance at the Nelson Mandela Bay Half Marathon.” The upcoming ANOCO African Beach Games are going to be the second edition of the continental showpiece after the inaugural event, which was held in Sal, Cape Verde, in 2019.

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