MASERU – Local boxers have begun their campaign at the just- started Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England today. The Commonwealth Games officially started yesterday and will come to an end on August 8. Lesotho is competing with 21 athletes, a slightly high number of athletes than those who represented the country at the Gold Coast, Australia in 2018.
The Mountain Kingdom has hope in five boxers at the Birmingham games, namely Arena Pakela in men’s 71kg, Moroke Mokhotho in men’s 75kg, Qhobosheane Mohlerepe in men’s 63.3kg, Retšelisitsoe Kolobe in men’s 51kg and Phomolo Lengola in men’s 54kg. These, would be followed by marathoners – Nkhabutlane Motlokoa, Tšepo Mathibelle, Lebenya Nkoka and Mokulubete Makatisi, who are expected to make for a good showing for the country.
There is also a lone weightlifting athlete, Thabelo Sebota in men’s 61kg who will make a showing tomorrow. Makatisi is going to be Lesotho’ solitary competitor in women’s marathon since ’Neheng Khatala withdrew from the big race and opted for women’s 10 000 metres. The country’s sprint athlete, Mojela Koneshe, will begin his campaign next Tuesday in men’s 100 metres, on the same day with Manqabang Tsibela in women’s 800 metres and Tebello Ramakongoana in men’s 10 000 metres.
Koneshe will once again compete in men’s 200 metres next Thursday, the same day Palesa Khotlele will be the in women’s discus throw. Koneshe’s other teammates in athletics, Mathakane Letsie and Khatala compete a day before – both in women’s 10 000 metres. Letsie and Tsibela will once again compete in women’s 5000 and 1500 metres respectively, both next Sunday.
Lesotho’s top triple jump athlete, Lerato Sechele, will compete next Friday in women’s triple jump. Lesotho’s cyclists, Phetetso Monese and Tumelo Makae will also compete next Wednesday, both in men’s mountain bike race, while their teammates Teboho Khantši and Kabelo Makatile will compete next Sunday, both in men’s road bike race. Team Lesotho left last Sunday for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
This is Lesotho’s 13th time competing at the Commonwealth Games since 1974 and the Mountain Kingdom last won a medal from games in 2006 when veteran boxer, Moses Kopo, brought home a silver from Melbourne in Australia. This was after Lesotho two medals from the games before, a bronze by another veteran boxer, Sephula Letuka from the Manchester games in England in 2002 and a gold by veteran marathoner, Thabiso Moqhali, from the 1998 games which were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.