Toka out, Khatala in for IAAF Cross Country Champs

Badboy Toka, one of Lesotho’s young and promising athlete has been dropped out of the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federation Word Cross Country Championships and replaced by ‘Neheng Khatala at the event to be staged in Kampala, Uganda on March 28.
Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) Spokesperson, Mr. Sejanamane Maphathe told LENA in an interview on Wednesday that this was after the International Federation of Association of Athletics (IAAF) intervened.
He said the IAAF was steadfast that LAAA must send a male and a female to promote gender equity in sports, after LAAA had resolved to send Toka and Jobo Khatoane based on performance.
Mr. Maphathe said they were aware that each association was supposed to send a male and a female athlete but since LAAA is currently faced with financial constraints and the duo are sponsored by IAAF it was an easy decision.
He said LAAA has already communicated the new development to Toka, saying the athlete is still part of the association’s future plans, and will still be considered for other international events.
He said LAAA is unable to send more than two athletes due to the prevailing association’s financial status.
He pointed out that Khatala is still the best and will be taking part in the female’s eight kilometres distance while Khatoane will run the 12 kilometres distance.
“We believe that the duo is capable based on current performance to deliver and bring good results for the country,” he added.
Mr. Maphathe said this means that the country will now be able to participate in team event consisting of a male and a female in relay to promote socialized events.
“The duo have been assisted by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) with funds to participate at the World Cross Country Championships by virtue of the event being the first to be staged in Africa, and the mother body earmarked each country to send two athletes which will be fully catered for by the organisers,” he added.
He therefore said these runners will be traveling on their own as LAAA is unable to raise funds for either a coach or team manager to accompany them to this global athletics event.
Mr. Maphathe said the runners are going to participate in 12 kilometres distance, where they stand to scoop a M390.000 as first prize.
LAAA held inter district national cross country in mid February with only the Mafeteng district absent.

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