Mokoena the sole highlight

KHOTSO Mokoena, South Africa's sole winner of an Olympic medal in Beijing, continued to keep the SA flag flying by winning the long jump at the first IAAF Golden League meeting of 2009 before a crowd of about 65000 spectators yesterday with an excellent jump of 8.33m.

KHOTSO Mokoena, South Africa's sole winner of an Olympic medal in Beijing, continued to keep the SA flag flying by winning the long jump at the first IAAF Golden League meeting of 2009 before a crowd of about 65000 spectators yesterday with an excellent jump of 8.33m.

It was 18cm further than the second athlete and equalled his best of the year that was only 6cm short of his national record set in 2006.

In the absence of the current world leaders, Dwight Phillips of the United States (8.74) and Olympic champion, Irving Saladino, of Panama (8.63), Louis Tsatoumas of Greece finished second and Senegalese Ndiss Kaba Badji third with respective distances of 8.15 and 8.05m.

Salim Sdiri of France, third on the world list with 8.42m, was well beaten by Mokoena. He only managed 8.00m and a fifth place on the day.

Mokoena, who also had two jumps of 8.27 (2) and one of 8.20m, led all along after opening the contest with a 8.27m.

All four of his official jumps were better than the second man and with his fifth round winning jump, he maintained his fifth place on the 2009 world best list, giving the impression that he was on the verge of breaking his SA record.

The long jump is not one of the official 10 Golden League events that qualify for the million-dollar jackpot.

A South African 4 x 100m relay team finished seventh in a special relay event in 39.94 sec while Estie Wittstock (8th) clocked a disappointing 53.39 sec in the women's 400m.

SA sprinters Hannes Dreyer and Tshegofatso Meshoe were outclassed in the B and C 100m races and recorded times of 10.70 sec and 10.75 sec respectively. - Sapa

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