Sunday, April 21, 2024
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No summer marathon this year?


Chris Theko

It seems uncertain whether the annual High Altitude Summer Marathon (HASM) will take place this year. The event usually takes place in the first week of December in Mokhotlong.

However, with just a little under two months, it remains unclear whether the 2021 edition of the relay will be held.

The 2020 edition was cancelled due to Covid-19 which saw international restrictions and sports being suspended. If this year’s edition is to not take place it will be the second time in a row. 

The event attracts over hundreds of participants from all over the continent and in other years, from the entire world. 

HASM is funded by the Ministry of Gender and Youth Sports and Recreation (MGYSR) and is organized by the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC).

In other years like the last time it was successfully hosted in 2019, it was largely sponsored by the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) along with other minor private sector sponsors. 

According to the acting Chief Executive Officer Teboho Malataliana they are yet to decide whether to host the event or not. 

“Currently we cannot say whether we will go ahead with the marathon or not because the prevailing circumstances are on-and-off.

“But we all know that the country has been faced with financial challenges and because we are funded by the ministry of sports, we are not even getting subversion,” Malataliana said.

Malataliana stated that due to the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games which are to be held in December, if the marathon is to take place the dates might have to be moved. 

“The normal date clashes with the expected AUSC games so if we do end up having the event, the ongoing discussion is around the possibility of postponing the marathon date to accommodate the AUSC games,” he said. 

The current defending champions in the 42 km are Lebenya Nkoka in the male category while the female championship was won by Monicar Mengrich of Kenya. While Letseka Sekonyela and Neheng Khatala are defending champions in the 21 km race for both males and female category. 

With the uncertainty around the hosting of the marathon, most athletes were affected morally and had stopped training for it. Khatala said it would be a big boost if the event takes place because athletes depend on such events. 

“Some of the athletes depend on such races so now if the race does not take place this year it is going to be a big blow. We are hoping that it does take place this year,” said Khatala. 

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