Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Olympics heartbreak for Makae


Seabata Mahao

Lesotho’s multiple cross-country cycling star, Tumelo Makae has not made the cut for the upcoming 2024 Olympics Games’ mountain bike cross-country event.

Makae was not named among the 36 selected male riders to take part in the global competition, which kicks off from July 26 to August 11 this year.

The African continent will be represented in Paris by South Africa, which ranks 13thin the world rankings, and Namibia, which ranks second behind South Africa in the African continental championships.

The last quota place, which was a universality invitation, was awarded to Liechtenstein, a small country in Europe that has never had an athlete in the mountain bike category before.

In reaction to Makae’s misfortune, the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) issued a statement stating that Makae had consistently raised the flag of Lesotho on the African continent and around the world.

LNOC said Makae was currently in Switzerland preparing to race in a series of competitions over there.

“The NOC is very proud of his achievements and his determination to earn the quota place for Paris 2024. In the Paris 2024 Mountain Bike qualification system, the top eight ranked NOCs earn two quota places and NOCs ranked nine to19 earn one place. There are a further seven places allocated to NOCs following results in Continental Championships and World Championships. The final two places are reserved for the host country and universality invitation. Liechtenstein is ranked 83rd in the world rankings,” LNOC concluded.

On his part, the Public Relations Officer of the Federation of Cycling Lesotho, Morie Malefane said they were saddened by the misfortune of missing the Olympic quota.

“Lesotho ranked position three in Africa and 47 in the world, Makae is ranked position eight with 50 points in Africa. We had all hopes that Makae would make it to the quota through the recognition of his hard work, his rankings, and his country’s ranking globally however, it seemed his miss on points mattered more,” Malefane said.

“There are countries like Honduras which ranks position eight in Europe and position 87 in the world with their athlete who comes way after Makae but they were given the chance to make it to the quota,” Malefane stated.

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