MASERU – Toka Badboy and Mojela Koneshe have qualified for the upcoming African Senior Championships which will take place in Oran, Algeria from June 1 to 5. Badboy, 22, clocked 28:37.24 as he came first in the 10 000m men competition at the Botswana National Championships in Gaborone last Sunday, while Koneshe clocked in 10.03 as he also came first in men 100m at the university games in South Africa, also last weekend.
Koneshe had already qualified for the African Senior Championships when he came third in 10.30 in the semi-finals of the same university games, as the qualifying standard for men’s 100m is 10.44 for the continental championships. For Badboy, the qualifying standard was 28:38.00 (for men’s 10 000m) to book a slot at the African Senior Championships.
“We went to the Botswana Championships with the main purpose being to qualify for the Olympic Games and the African Senior Championships but for me the aim was always to qualify for the African champs since my preparation has not been very good,” said Badboy in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday this week.
“I knew if I book the African champs spot I would stand a chance for the Olympic platform, and which I have managed to do in Botswana.” Badboy further said: “So now my preparation is focused on qualifying for the Olympics during the upcoming African champs.” Badboy and Koneshe have increased the number of Lesotho athletes who qualified for the African Senior Championships to four after Lerato Sechele and ’Neheng Khatala met the qualification standard before in triple jump and 10 000m respectively.
Other Lesotho athletes who competed at the Botswana National Championships, who include Namakoe Nkhasi, Tebello Ramakongoana, Ramolefi Motsieloa and Mathakane Letsie, have all failed to meet the qualifying standard for the African Senior Championships.
Nkhasi and Ramakongoana finished behind Badboy in second and third position respectively; in 29:18:05 and 29:34.75, while Motsieloa finished on position six in 30:53.64. Letsie also came first in women’s 1 500m after she clocked in 4:53.77, with the qualifying standard for the African Senior Championships (for women in 1 500m) being 4:21.00.
All these athletes, including Badboy and Koneshe, could not qualify for the Tokyo Olympic games, with men’s 10 000m Olympics qualification standard being 28:37.00 and the women standard for the 1 500m being 4:04.20. However, the Lesotho Athletics Federation (LAF) Secretary General Makara Thibinyane said the athletes put up a good performance in Botswana.
“They put up a very good performance in Botswana and there is no doubt that most of them will end up qualifying for the CAA Senior Champs,” said Thibinyane on Tuesday. He further reiterated: “If their coaches could increase the intensity of speed and strength for these six weeks prior to the CAA Senior Champs, then all will be good.”
Khoarahlane Seutloali is so far the only Lesotho athlete who qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Seutloali qualified for the global competition in September 2019 after finishing fifth in 2:11:04 at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in South Africa, with the qualifying standard for marathon (42.2km for men) being 2:11:30.