MASERU – National half marathon star, Jobo Khatoane, has been left out of the final list of athletes to represent the country in the forthcoming Olympics Games – and he is peeved.
The Lesotho Athletics Federation (LAF) has issued its list of runners for the upcoming Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan, from July 23 to August 8.
Khatoane, who has represented Lesotho in the Olympic Games before and the London Olympic Games in 2012, said “representing the country has no benefit for me at all, and am, therefore, not complaining about not being included in the list.”
“I am not at all interested in representing Lesotho in the upcoming Olympic Games,” said Khatoane.
Khatoane said as athletes they have families to look after and that if he had to cancel significant races he has been planning to compete in all along, and which pay better, in order to represent the country at the Olympic Games where he gets a pittance for representing his country “then it’s actually not worth it.”
Khatoane said for individual athletes like him who depend entirely on running, representing the country at any international event is “a waste of time and money.”
“That’s a waste of time and money, for any athlete who has a family to look after because you will find that you spent your own money on training, supplements and on boosters, while at the end of the day you get less money than you spent.
So that is not a worthwhile investment compared to when one competes individually because you then you know the prizes of the race you run in…unlike when you represent the country where you don’t know how much you are going to get as an allowance until you leave for a competition.”
Khatoane further said: “Sometimes you get such an allowance already at the competition, and that puts us under unnecessary pressure for you will find that we leave our wives and children broke. And that is something which affects one’s performance every time when we represent the country.”
Khatoane suggests that what contributes a lot towards poor performance when representing the country is that they are told very late about their representations.
“You find that you are told about representing the country two weeks before, and it’s not healthy for any athlete to start preparing for big events like the Olympics for such a short period of time. That’s why we fail to put up good performances.”
Khatoane, who also represented Lesotho at the 2013 World Championships in Russia and at the World Cross-Country held in Uganda in 2018, said he had to represent Lesotho at the 2012 London Olympic Games despite having been inactive for six weeks following his earlier involvement in a car accident.
“I was told I will be fine by the time a competition starts. This is how our administrators do things and one just agrees to represent the country simply because they avoid being labelled unpatriotic,” Khatoane said.
Khatoane’s last competitive race was on February 27 when he won the 10 kilometres Capital City in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
His next race will be the South African Championships in Port Elizabeth, also in South Africa, on May 1.