mokoena flies high

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

When Khotso Mokoena went to the Beijing Olympics last year a number of people thought he would return home empty-handed, but it's history that he won a silver medal in the long jump.

His feat in Beijing endeared Mokoena to the majority of South Africans who now have faith in him.

Mokoena has once again made Athletics South Africa and the people of the country happy after he was drafted into a Commonwealth Select Team to compete in the Aviva International Match in Scotland tomorrow.

The event is the richest indoor international match in the world, and returns to its established home in Glasgow as a curtain raiser to the 2009 international athletics season.

The meeting in Glasgow will provide Mokoena with stiff international competition, considering that their team will be up against strong teams from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States, Sweden and Germany.

His participation in Glasgow means that he will miss tonight's second leg of the Yellow Pages Series in Tshwane, but he is expected to be part of the third edition of the event in Durban on February 6.

Mokoena, the reigning World Indoor long jump champion, went to Glasgow in high spirits after his success in the first leg of the series in Potchefstroom last Friday.

The 23-year-old jumped to a distance of 8,15m in Potchefstroom and this gave him the IAAF A-standard qualification for the World Championships to be staged in Berlin, Germany, in August.

Mokoena, who left for Scotland on Wednesday, could not be reached for comment yesterday. But he stressed in an earlier interview that he was focused to do well both locally and internationally to prepare sufficiently for the 2012 London Olympics.

Leonard Chuene, ASA's boss, yesterday wished Mokoena and his teammates luck in Glasgow.

"We are proud of Khotso's achievement and we hope he will continue to make us proud. He is young but has a big heart, and is not afraid to face challenges," said Chuene yesterday.

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