SPORTS fans, the world over, have been known to lash out when their teams fall short of expectations. However, criticism should always be constructive to encourage improvement.
Basotho’s hopes of clinching a medal at the just-ended 2016 Summer Olympics were dashed on Saturday last week when star sprinter Mosito Lehata failed to qualify for the 100 metres semi-final after notching fourth place in the preliminary round with 10 seconds 26 mini seconds. He was also knocked out of the first round of the 200 metre race three days later.
Many people were rightly not impressed by Lehata’s performance considering his experience and investments made in his development.
Over the course of the games, I attended some of the disciplines Brazilian athletes were competing in, and I must say, I was impressed by the local supporters.
They showed unwavering support for all their athletes, whether they were winning or losing.
In stark contrast, my compatriots viciously attacked Lehata on social media for failing to advance to the semi-finals.
Truth be told, Lehata was facing an uphill task competing against the likes of Usain Bolt and Justin Gaitlin. However, I do concede that he should have done better.
While we should not celebrate mediocrity, our criticism also needs to be constructive so that our athletes are not discouraged in the long run.
In all fairness, Lehata was also disappointed by his performance and was shocked to find himself in fourth position when he thought he was number two.
For reasons best known to himself, Lehata slowed down towards the end of the 100m race seemingly unaware his competitors in lanes six and seven were not far behind.
For displaying such naiveté, Lehata certainly deserves criticism.
Surely he should have known better given his participation in numerous tournaments and the fact that we were all rooting for him.
However, in venting our frustration, let’s bear in mind that Lehata remains one of us and still needs our support going forward.
The Rio Games are now water under the bridge, and Lehata needs to bounce back and prepare for the World Championships in Athletics and 2018 Commonwealth Games.
All in all, team Lesotho fared poorly during the Rio Olympics.
The eight-member team’s lacklustre performance speaks volumes about the sporting standards, or lack thereof, in our country. Hopefully, the powers that be will have a rethink of their sports development strategies.
Until we have solid development structures, Lesotho’s dreams of winning Olympic medals will remain just that.