Mokoena gives himself a present

Khotso Mokoena, South Africa's best long and triple jumper of all time, gave himself a fine 22nd birthday present in Valencia, Spain, on Saturday when he won South Africa's third ever gold medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships with an 8,08m jump.

Khotso Mokoena, South Africa's best long and triple jumper of all time, gave himself a fine 22nd birthday present in Valencia, Spain, on Saturday when he won South Africa's third ever gold medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships with an 8,08m jump.

It was also the first ever in a field event. The tall former world junior champion in the triple jump and long jump silver medalist celebrated his birthday two days ago. He was a model of consistency with five of his jumps over 8 metres. It was a tight affair between him and Britain's Chris Tomlinson who led the competition from the word go with an 8, 06m jump. Mokoena opened with 8,05m and followed with jumps of 8,01 and 8,03 twice until the fifth round when he produced his winning effort of 8,08m. Tomlinson could not match that and had to settle for silver.

Johan Botha (1999) and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (2004) were the only other South Africans to have won indoor gold medals. Both did it in the 800 metres and both also won silver medals in the same event in 2001 and 2006 respectively. - Sapa

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