Africa-Press – Lesotho. With most lockdown restrictions lifted, a renowned long distance runner ‘Neheng Khatala begins to see a ray of light in her aspirations to further make her
mark in athletics following the coronavirus induced setback to all sporting activities. This was revealed in an exclusive interview with Informative Sport on Wednesday, where the 2020 Bocheletsane
Half Marathon gold medalist pointed out how the latest developments in the country could slowly pave way for the intensive training she has been missing
since mid March when sports were suspended. Despite the conditions not being up to scratch at the moment, ‘Neheng believes the situation would get better and
she would soon be back to normal training to prepare for various competitions. “It wasn’t easy training on my own, especially during the month of April when the restrictions were very strict,
compelling us into using small and confined spaces at home,” said the multi-gold medalist. “It’s much better now that the restrictions have been eased a little because I’m able to jog over a few kilometers, though I can’t
really say it’s a normal distance since I still have to adhere to the regulations. Other exercises haven’t been possible as yet, but I’m hopeful that things would get better in the month of June.
” When the virus outbreak became rampant on the continent of Africa in March, ‘Neheng, who was preparing for a
couple of international marathons, was badly affected since she had dreams of qualifying for the Tokyo Summer Olympics Games which have been postponed to 2021.
The only Mosotho athlete who has so far qualified for the Olympic Games is ‘Neheng’s husband – Khoarahlane Seutloali. “I was wrapping up my preparations
for a very important marathon in Austria,” she added. “That marathon was a platform for me to qualify for the Olympics. After that one I was to participate
in the South Africa Half Marathon Championships in Port Elizabeth. The pandemic dealt me a huge blow as my preparations were already at advanced stages.
I then opted for the Bocheletsane Half Marathon after those marathons were cancelled. The 2019 High Altitude Half Marathon winner said despite limited access to resources and training facilities, she
insists there is still a chance to qualify for the Olympics when qualifying tournaments take place in November following their rescheduling. “We don’t have access to our training
facilities such as Setsoto Stadium, and that’s one of the challenges,” said the Mohale’s Hoek born marathoner. “It’s not going to be easy maintaining the
desired level of fitness under these conditions, but we’ll have to try our level best as athletes to prepare for the Olympics qualifications. Other activities related to the Olympics such as anti-doping tests should’ve kicked
off by now, but that hasn’t been possible due to restrictions on travel. ” Team work and discipline play a pivotal role in succeeding in athletics, according to ‘Neheng who highlighted
that her predecessors in the sport benefited a lot from working together. She advised young athletes looking up to her to be fully focused on their goals in whatever
they are pursuing. “Discipline is very significant,” ‘Neheng said. “It helps a lot because the coach could be able to come up with suitable strategies when his athlete is well disciplined.
Team work is also vital: the previous generation of our athletes used to be united, and that spirit yielded them great feats. To the young kids out there hoping to achieve in
life, be fully focused and committed to what you want to pursue in life -be it athletics or school, be dedicated. ” ‘Neheng warned Basotho on the coronavirus
disease, urging Basotho to adhere to social distancing guidelines in order to avoid what happened in Italy where most citizens were at first skeptical about
the danger of the virus. “This virus is deadly,” she said. “In Italy, most people believed that they were immune while others were thinking the disease could be a myth.
What happened later there was a calamity, and I won’t like to see that happening here in our country. Yes, poverty and hunger make it harder for us to stay indoors, but let’s follow the safety guidelines given to us while we’re also vigilant.”