MASERU – Lesotho’s long distance marathoner, ’Neheng Khatala, is set to compete at the Seoul International Marathon in South Korea next month. The annual Seoul Marathon is expected to take place on March 20.
According to the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC)’s Public Relations Officer, Fetang Selialia, Khatala is one of the local athletes who are preparing for the upcoming Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham, England, between July and August this year.
Selialia further revealed that Khatala is currently out of the country to intensify her preparation for the Seoul Marathon. “Khatala is currently in a training camp in Durban, South Africa, to prepare for the Seoul Marathon and also for the upcoming Commonwealth Games,” said Selialia in an interview with Public Eye on Wednesday this week. Selialia said Khatala is also preparing for the next Olympic Games to be held in Paris, France, in 2024.
He said the marathoner is one of the Lesotho athletes who are currently on the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship, specifically for the Paris Olympics. “’Neheng Khatala is one of the local athletes who are currently on the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship through the LNOC, particularly for the Paris Games.” Selialia said Khatala is on the scholarship though she is still based at home.
He said other athletes who are on the Olympic Solidarity Sponsorship while they are still based at home include Makoli Senaoana and Tebello Ramokongoana, both in athletics and cyclist Tumelo Makae. “We also have Michelle Tau in taekwondo, who is based in Brussels, France, and sprint athlete Mojela Koeneshe based in Potchefstroom, in South Africa.”
Selialia said the scholarships of all these athletes ran from September last year and will expire in August, 2024. “There are also high performance scholarships for major games where we have, among others, a long jump athlete, Lerato Sechele, who is based locally but currently a student at the University of Free State in South Africa.”
Selialia said other athletes who are currently on the LNOC high performance scholarship are Toka Badboy and Motlokoa Nkhabutlane, both runners and one weightlifting athlete, Machachamise Ntšinye and cyclist Ramohanoe Ramohanoe.
He said all of these athletes are based in the country. “We also have a team support grant. This is an Olympic Solidarity grant which is intended to help teams in preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games,” said Selialia.
The Lesotho women’s volleyball team is currently the only local team benefiting from the grand. Selialia said the grant for the volleyball women team will also expire in 2024. The grant will also help the team to prepare for the regional and other international games, he added.
Lesotho is yet to win a medal from the Olympic Games. However, the country has managed gold, silver and bronze medals from the Commonwealth Games won by a veteran marathoner Thabiso Moqhali and two veteran boxers Moses Kopo and Sephula Letuka.