|Nkoka running for history|
Marathon specialist Lebenya Nkoka is out to make history by becoming the first Lesotho athlete to win a medal at the Olympic Games.
The 33 year-old is one of eight athletes that will comprise Team Lesotho at Rio 2016. The others are runners Mosito Lehata, Tšepang Sello and Nkhasi, marathoner Tšepo Mathibelle, boxers Inkululeko Suntele and Moroke Mokhotho, and cyclist Phetetso Monese.
Nkoka, who won the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town two years ago, believes having the same winning mentality will help his quest at the Rio Games.
“I never thought I would one day count winning the Two Oceans marathon among my successes, but I did it in 2014, beating some of the region’s top runners in the process,” Nkoka said. “It was not easy, but I believed in my ability. I had come close previously but eventually won it when I was about to give up that dream. I will carry the same spirit to Brazil and hopefully, it will work wonders for me.
Nkoka said he was looking forward to competing at the Olympics. “I know it will be a completely different setup to the races I am used to in South Africa, but I’m working hard to make a name for myself on this bigger stage. I have been hard at work because I’m looking forward to representing the country at such a big sporting event which is a dream for any athlete.”
The last time Nkoka represented Lesotho at a major sporting event was at the 2006 Commonwealth Game. The Olympics marathon will take place on August 21.
Rio Olympics football starts Wednesday
The Rio 2016 Olympics officially get underway with the opening ceremony on Friday but the women’s football tournament kicks off the action today.
The competition will kick off with South Africa playing Sweden in Group E action at 18:00 (CAT). Hosts Brazil will then face China in the other Group E encounter at 21:00 (CAT).
Group F including Canada, Australia, Germany and Zimbabwe also kicks off today.
The men’s tournament will get underway on Thursday.
Opening Rio 2016 women’s fixtures:
Sweden v South Africa (18:00)
Brazil v China (21:00)
Canada v Australia (20:00)
Zimbabwe v Germany (23:00)
United States v New Zealand (00:00)
France v Colombia (03:00)