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BERLIN - For Khotso "Crocodile" Mokoena, the silver medal he won for South Africa here on Saturday night is just one of many accolades he wants to bring to the country.
And Mokoena says winning the medals is also a way of saying "thank you, South Africans, for supporting me during the Beijing Olympics and in my career".
While he was eyeing gold at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin, he is not disappointed with the silver medal. His jump of 8,47m was his second best, but was not good enough to wrest the gold away from American Dwight Philips. Australian Mitchell Watt got the bronze.
The 24-year-old said that apart from his takeoff, which was not at the level that he would have liked, he was excited by his general display.
The celebrated long jumper also claimed silver in Beijing. His Beijing and Berlin successes, and recent accolades at the IAAF Golden League in Europe, will go a long way in inspiring him going into the 2012 London Olympics, Mokoena said.
"It is important for me to keep winning to be psyched up for the London Games," said the bouncy Mokoena. "I'm really over the moon about my achievements here considering that I obtained fifth position at the same championships in 2007."
He added: "I'm happy that I put a smile on (the faces of) South Africans and ASA because they deserve to be happy for what they are doing for us in terms of support."
Mokoena also took a swipe at people who are doubting the gender of fellow South African Caster Semenya.
Athletics South Africa boss Leonard Chuene thanked the inspirational athlete for making the country proud again.