‘We don’t have an electronic timing system’

FAL loses use of home venue for athlete’s qualification

NTHAKO MAJORO

MASERU – An attempt by the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) to use last Sunday’s national championship as a qualifying event for local athletes ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games has flopped.

They don’t have field and track timing equipment. The Lesotho athletics mother body needed an electronic timing system in order for the championship to meet international standards for the Olympic Games qualification in terms of proper time recording.

FAL Secretary General, Makara Thibinyane, told this publication that they had made arrangements to secure an electronic system on time from South Africa but they failed to get any of the required equipment by the time the championship was held.

“We made earlier arrangements to get an electronic timing system from ASA (Athletics South Africa) who agreed to a rental fee of about M40 000, but things changed after ASA elected its new committee which rejected our proposal,” said Thibinyane in an interview with Public Eye on Tuesday this week.

“As a result, we had to negotiate with the Free State Athletics who also had to find it for us from the Gauteng North Athletics, but we could not afford their R90 000 price as we had budgeted R40 000 in our earlier arrangements with ASA.”

Thibinyane said the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) was ready to pay R40 000 for an electronic timing system but with the increased rental fee things became complicated as the increase only arose after the sports mother body had prepared its budget.

“If we had secured such an electronic system the national championship would have been the Olympic qualifiers,” Thibinyane said.

At present Lesotho does not have such equipment. Thibinyane said this is unfortunate as the federation needs the equipment urgently, revealing that what happened last Sunday not only exposed FAL but also embarrassed Lesotho as the country.

The Tokyo Olympic Games have been scheduled from July 23 to August 8, with only two Lesotho athletes having so far booked slots at the global multi-sport event, namely; Khoarahalane Seutloali and his wife ’Neheng Khatala-Seutloali. Both the Seutloalis are marathon runners.

Thibinyane said they must send some of their hopefuls to a race in Pretoria, South Africa, this weekend and to Durban a week after to give them the last opportunity to qualify for this year’s Olympics. Meanwhile, Thibinyane said generally last Sunday’s national championship was successful.

Tebello Ramakongoana from Qacha’s Nek came first in the men’s 10 000m after clocking in 29:09.4, with Tšepo Ramashamole from Maseru coming on second spot in 29:14.4 – Namakoe Nkhasi was on third position in 29:19.5.

In other men categories, Toka Badboy came first in men 5 000m after clocking in 14:57.2, and was followed by Mxemecelwa Miya and Lebelo Moponyane in 15:11.7 and 15:28.6 respectively.

In one of the women categories, Thandiwe Lematla finished first in 1 500m in 4:51.2, with ’Mathakane Letsie coming on second spot after clocking in 5:04.3 and ’Mangabang Tsibela on third position in 5:07.3.

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