|Lesotho's Thabo Molefe (in red) during his win over Vanuatu’s Gill Kalai|
Thabo Molefe has joined teammate Moroke Mokhotho in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Commonwealth Games boxing competition, raising Lesotho’s hopes of a medal at the Gold Coast Games in Australia.
Molefe beat Vanuatu’s Gill Kalai by a unanimous 5-0 decision in the men’s 52 kilograms round of 16 stage early on Monday morning at Oxenford Studios where the boxing tournament is being held.
Molefe will next face Vidanalange Ishan Bandara of Sri Lanka in the quarterfinals on Wednesday knowing a win would put him on the verge of winning a medal. The quarterfinal match is scheduled to take place at 5:47AM Lesotho Time.
Molefe joined Lesotho’s top boxer Mokhotho in the quarterfinals. Mokhotho, who is fighting in the 56kg tournament, beat Jean Jordy Vadamootoo of Mauritius by a 3-2 split in the round of 16 on Saturday.
The 2016 Olympian will face Northern Ireland’s Kurt Warner in the quarters on Tuesday morning. Mokhotho goes into the bout hoping to go one better than at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland where he fell at the same quarterfinal stage.
Mokhotho came into these Commonwealth Games with more experience and confidence after winning gold at the Zone 4 African Boxing Championship in February in Maputo, Mozambique.
Mokhotho and Molefe are the only members of Lesotho’s five-strong boxing team to make it through to the next round of the Gold Coast Games.
‘Mantoa Ranone lost to New Zealand’s Alexis Pritchard in the women’s 57kg round of 16, Mokhachane Moshoeshoe lost to New Zealand’s Leroy Hindley in the men’s 69kg round of 16 and Qhobosheane Mohlerepe lost to Michael McDonagh of Wales in the men’s 60kg round of 16.
Boxing, nevertheless, appears to be Lesotho’s best hope for success in Australia so far.
In athletics there was disappointment for Lesotho’s number one sprinter Mosito Lehata on Saturday as he fell at the semi-final stage of the 100 metres event after he was unable to finish the race.
There was similar frustration for his athletics teammates.
Mokulubetse Makatisi (women’s 1500 metres heats) and Lineo Chaka (women’s 10 000 metres final) finished last in their races while Toka Badboy was disqualified from the men’s 5000 metres final. Bafokeng Moeti also finished 11th out of 14 athletes in the men’s 69kg weightlifting competition.
But all is not lost. On Tuesday, Lehata will get another chance to make his mark when he starts in the heats of his favoured 200 metres event while Lerato Sechele will contest the women’s triple jump final.
Lesotho is trying to add to its all-time tally of three medals at the Commonwealth Games – Moses Kopo’s boxing bronze in 2006 in Melbourne, Sephula Letuka’s boxing bronze in 2002 in Manchester and Thabiso Moqhali’s marathon gold in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur.