MASERU – Mountain Riders Cycling Club (MRCC) is eyeing to dominate the local female cycling events once lockdown restrictions are eased and sports activities resume. All forms of sporting activities remain suspended in the country due to the COVID-19 Orange alert level the country has been under since the resurgence of infection at the beginning of the year.
MRCC mentor, Lethusang Ntili, said he was focusing on the club’s female riders who he is presently fine-tuning to become a crop of riders the country has never had. “I am currently focusing on our female riders, and I am working very hard in shaping them into becoming best cyclists,” said Ntili in an interview with Public Eye on Monday.
“Currently I have five female riders, three of them are road bike cyclists and the other two are mountain bikers.” The five MRCC female riders are Tina Ramille, ’Machaba Ramille, Tebello ’Mofa, Tlhalosetso Ntili and Mpho Maretintši. Ramille and Mofa strut their stuff in mountain biking while the other Ramille sister, Ntili and Maretintši are all road bike competitors.
“This doesn’t mean we no longer have male riders in our team, but our main target is to have a strong team of female riders by the time the lockdown is lifted,” Ntili said. MRCC has partnerships with three cycling clubs, two local clubs and one club from the Free State, in South Africa.
“We have partnered with Manyatseng Cycling Club in South Africa and also other two local clubs, Lithoteng and Thota-ea-moli Cycling Club,” Ntili said. He said, his club is benefiting a lot from all the partnerships, adding that from the two local clubs, one of the benefits is that they usually exchange riders between themselves. Ntili said one of those riders of note is ‘Mofa, who comes from their partnership with Lithoteng Cycling Club.
’Mofa is now a rising star in female cycling. She recently outpaced Lesotho female cycling champion, Likeleli Masitise, during one of the Nedbank championships held in Roma. The club’s partnership with the Free Staters is, however, of a nature; and Ntili said of it: “We normally go there (Free State) for training purposes, utilizing their terrains for the benefit of our cyclists, and that’s where we do gauge our riders’ performance.”
Ntili continued that this arrangement is working well for his club. He said it was also helpful in that when there are competitions they know who to feature among their pool of cyclists “since we are able to measure them for agility during such trainings which are usually held in the Free State province.”
Ntili noted that cycling is still a male dominated sport, just like it is the case with other sporting codes in Lesotho. “We are encouraging women to join cycling and our club is the example of that, so much that we even have female road bike riders and which is very rare in Lesotho’s cycling so far,” Ntili said.
This, Ntili added, is going to encourage other local clubs to also have female road bike cyclists and said in that way female cycling competition in Lesotho will be very high in the near future. Ntili joined MRCC in 2008 as a rider and was later asked to take charge as a coach after the club’s founding members left one after the other to form new clubs.
MRCC was founded by cyclists who were at founding known as Pulamaliboho, since they were the first to start cycling competitively in Lesotho.