Mokoena second in Scotland
Athletics South Africa yesterday hailed long jumper Khotso "Crocodile" Mokoena for his lion-hearted display at the Aviva International Match in Glasgow, Scotland, on Saturday.
Mokoena, who represented the Commonwealth Select Team, finished a reputable second in the long jump standings. The Beijing silver medallist was among the athletes cheered by an appreciative crowd at Kelvin Hall.
Mokoena started somewhat sluggishly in his first and second attempts but managed a distance of 7,42m in his third jump. He then jumped a distance of 7,79m in his fourth attempt and stretched to 7,92m in his last jump, enough to secure him second position.
Michel Torneus of Sweden registered a winning distance of 7,95m in his second attempt after he started with 7,86m. Greg Rutherford, who was highly tipped to win, finished third with a distance of 7,91m, his compatriot Sebastian Bayer came fourth with 7,78m and American Norris Frederick finished fifth on 7,59m.
The Commonwealth Select took the team prize with 60 points from the Aviva GB and NI Team with 57. Germany were third with 51, the United States fourth with 46 and Sweden fifth with 37.
The event is the richest indoor international match in the world.
Mokoena could not be reached for comment yesterday as he was said to be on his way back home. He will arrive on time to be part of the third leg of the Yellow Pages in Durban on Friday.
"The boy has once again made us proud and is an inspiration to other athletes," ASA's president Leonard Chuene said yesterday.
"Coming out at this level so early in the year is an indication that Khotso has many good things to offer his country this year. His achievements are based on hard work, discipline and professionalism. We hope he continues to work hard as he prepares for the 2012 London Olympic Games."
Mokoena, the reigning World Indoor long jump champion, started his 2009 campaign on a positive note when he got the IAAF A-standard qualification for the IAAF World Championship two weeks ago.