Lesotho triple jumper, Lerato Sechele’s recent gold medal winning performance in Potchefstroom has encouraged her to continue striving to achieve her goal of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Sechele, who currently holds Lesotho’s triple jump record after completing her personal best of 13.57 metres at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, admits that her journey comes with many challenges as she balances being a wife, mother and professional athlete.
As a junior, Sechele won the silver medal at the 2011 African Junior Championships and gold at the 2013 event.
She also finished tenth at the 2011 All Africa Games.
Speaking with Nonto Nothana, Sechele reveals how she fell in love with jumps and shares advice to encourage young girls to follow their sporting dreams.
Lerato, thank you for taking time to chat to us. You are very close towards your Olympic dream; how does that make you feel?
I believe I still have a lot of work to do in order to qualify for the Olympics, so getting close to the standard gives me hope.
Let us take you back to your earlier days, what was life like growing up in Lesotho?
Lesotho is a fun country so as they say there’s no place like home. Being a Mosotho wa Lesotho is the best thing ever.
“I didn’t have any plans of going far with sports until my ex-Cuban coach introduced me to jumps competition that was held in 2009 in Botswana whee I won a silver medal since then, I never looked back.”- Lerato Sechele
How did you fall in love with athletics, especially jumping?
I started sport at the very young age and I was a sprinter by the time so I was doing everything. I didn’t have any plans of going far with sports until my ex-Cuban coach introduced me to jumps competition that were held in 2009 in Botswana where I won a silver medal and ever since then I never looked back.
The Potchefstroom event has to be your stand out highlight so far winning gold in triple jump, please take us through that event.
I was competing with the best South African athletes, so I had to push harder even though I didn’t reach my target (in terms of metres).
Was it studies that brought you to South Africa?
I am not a student; I only came here for training.
How do you balance being a wife, student and an athlete?
I have a very supportive and understanding husband so he makes everything easy for me.
You are known for leaving a mark at the events that you take part in namely; the 2018 African Championships where you won a bronze medal in Algeria and the Athletics Central North West Meeting. What’s your secret?
I love what I do, and I am a hard worker.
Who are your role models in the sport industry and why?
I think I am my role model because I believe I am the best.
What do you still hope to achieve in 2021 and beyond?
My eyes are set on an Olympic qualification.
What advice can you give to a young woman in sports who feels like they have a lot on their plate to even continue doing what they love?
There’s nothing easy in this world but if you really want to get what you want and love you’ll need to work very hard, compromise a lot and be disciplined.
Photo 1 Caption: Lesotho triple jumper, Lerato Sechele’s recent gold medal winning performance in Potchefstroom has encouraged her to continue striving to achieve her goal of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Supplied