Lesotho gears up for the London Olympics

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Lesotho have started in earnest with preparations for the 2012 London Games by convening a strategic planning workshop for the quadrennial sports fiesta.

Convened by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC), last weekend's workshop was attended by all 23 member federations.

"We've talent in abundance, some of the athletes can compete pound for pound with their peers elsewhere," said LNOC spokesperson Moshoeshoe Mokake.

"The new executive (led by Mmatlohang Ramaqopo as president) is serious about sending teams that will make Basotho happy in London and beyond.

"One of the challenges that we have identified as contributing to the dismal performance of Lesotho at the Olympics is the on-going internal squabbles within the federations.

"That is why we decided to invite all the 23-member federations and conflict management experts to assist us in that regard.

"It has been difficult for us to get sponsorship because of the negative publicity that our federations have been getting.

"We want to start seeing a situation where newspapers, radio and television carry more positive reports about athletes and not squabbles among the officials.

"At the workshop, we also had financial experts attending to assist our federations in terms of handling all the aspects of money.

"We cannot only rely on the government and Olympic Solitary for financial assistance, the corporate world must also come on board."

Lesotho had five athletes - four in athletics and one boxer - representing the mountain kingdom at the Beijing Olympics last August.

"We have great athletes and boxers, what we need to do is to ensure they are properly prepared for the 2012 London Olympics," Mokake added.

"We have rising stars in table tennis, taekwondo and swimming, but the plan is to identify all the athletes with potential to do well in London and get the best trainers to help them."