Thagane guns for qualifier

BELGRADE - South African triple jumper Tumelo Thagane starts his competition at the 25th World Student Games today encouraged by the presence of the reigning Olympic and world champion, Nelson Evora of Portugal.

BELGRADE - South African triple jumper Tumelo Thagane starts his competition at the 25th World Student Games today encouraged by the presence of the reigning Olympic and world champion, Nelson Evora of Portugal.

"Evora is the best triple jumper in the world today. That is why I'm excited to have qualified for the World Student Games, which is a great platform for me to qualify for the World Championships in Berlin, Germany, next month," he told Sowetan yesterday.

Thagane is a childhood friend of South Africa's sole medallist at the Beijing Olympics, Khotso Mokoena, who won silver in long jump. Mokoena and Thagane grew up together in Ratanda and were coached by Nigel schoolteacher Elna de Beer.

"I have already achieved a B standard qualification jump (16,69m) at the University Sport South Africa [Ussa] national championships in Stellenbosch in April, so I'm gunning for the required A standard of 17,10m for the World Championships," Thagane said.

"This is the last opportunity for me to qualify for the World Championships. There is no way I can slip up."

The pencil-slim Thagane, 25, who is studying human movement science at the University of North West, has won Ussa's triple jump national title for three consecutive years.

l Ramatsiyi Moholoa is in Serbia as a guest of Ussa and Sascoc

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