Weightlifting duo in Kenya for Olympic qualifiers
MASERU – Two Lesotho weightlifters – Machachamise Ntšinyi and Thapelo Sebota are in Nairobi, Kenya to compete at the 2021 African Senior Men Gold Olympic Weightlifting Qualification Championships, scheduled for May 26 – 31. The duo is under the mentorship of Relebohile Motjamela. The Lesotho Weightlifting Federation (LWF) Public Relations Officer, Nthabiseng said Sebota will compete in the men’s 61kg category while Ntšinyi is set to battle it out in the 73kg section.
The two athletes are part of the Lesotho Olympic Committee (LNOC) High Performance Team selected in 2018 as per their weight divisions in the National Championships, which were above others and close to the African continent rankings. “They have the opportunity to compete for the Tokyo Olympics qualification with the support of LNOC High Performance Programme. They were selected alongside their female counterpart, ’Makuena Tšosane who however, withdrew from the team due to ill-health.”
Shale said in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak the federation had a huge pull of women in various age groups ranging between eight and 35 years. “’Mapolinyane Lehohla of Mohale’s Hoek Bonhomme High School represented Lesotho at the 2019 Mauritius Senior African Championships, while Tšosane represented the country at the 2019 All Africa Games with Relebohile Mokhele raising the Lesotho flag at the Youth and Junior African Games in Algeria the same year.”
The Weightlifting Federation of Africa (WFA) held its elective Annual General Assembly on May 25 in Nairobi, Kenya and Lesotho was represented at the meeting by Advocate Bothobile Shebe. Shale said part of Shebe’s mandate was to also seek support from the WFA and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).
“She was also there to find ways to develop the sport in Lesotho and the Region 5 area as per the communication between Botswana and South Africa weightlifting federations where they plan to host the Three Nations tournament yearly.
“We want to assist our athletes to have competition exposure in other countries without much costs and we plan to start this year if the COVID-19 pandemic declines,” she noted. For her part, Shebe said the grassroots are where they get players, adding that they also have a programme that grooms school children to become bodybuilders. “To send two children to a competition abroad costs the federation more than the subvention we get from LSRC, because it costs more than M100 000. “In order for a coach to mentor athletes to the regional and international competitions, such a coach should hold WFA, IFA or IOC certificates,” she said.
Motjamela holds both the WFA and Paisac certificates which make him eligible to be rated in IWF category 1. “Other local coaches only hold basic coaching qualifications,” Shebe also said. She said the LWF was about to send Ntsu Lephaila from Bonhomme HS and ’Mangaka Tjoloba for the WFA coaching course in Zambia in 2019 but the training was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have decided that if Tjoloba can manage the youth teams so well, then she can also manage the senior players while we look for another female coach to assist her.”