'I want to confirm that I am not retiring just yet‚' insists Khotso Mokoena
Decorated South African long and triple jumper Khotso Mokoena is not planning to hang up his spikes just yet and is targeting the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan as his swansong.
As part of the 33-year-old's bid to remain in good physical shape and compete at the highest level‚ Mokoena will only compete at major championships in the months leading up to the Tokyo event in an attempt to manage his workload.
“I want to confirm that I am not retiring just yet‚" he said shortly after returning from the Athletics World Cup.
"My target is to retire after 2020 which will be my fifth appearance at the Olympic Games.”
Mokoena was unable to get a medal at the Athletics World Cup in England after finishing fifth in the triple jump.
Asked if the decision to prolong his career by a further two years would not be stretching it‚ a confident Mokoena said his body is responding well to the challenges of high performance training and he would not be too disheartened if he fails to get a medal in Tokyo.
“At the moment I feel good and my body is responding well‚" he said.
"I just competed at the World Cup in England last weekend without any problems.
"I have taken this decision to end my career at the Olympics and what is going to be important over the next months is how I manage my workload.
"That’s the reason I am only going to compete at major championships.
"Maybe I will qualify for the final in Beijing and you know once you get there anything is possible.
"If I get a medal in Tokyo it will be good‚ if I don’t get I will not be too disheartened.”
Mokoena‚ who has won a medal‚ except gold‚ in all the major championships he has participated in since he turned professional 14 years ago‚ added that he looks back at his career with pride.
“When I started‚ I never imagined that things would turn out this way‚" he said.
"But I am happy with what I have achieved.
"I don’t have a lot of time left in the sport but I still want a few more medals in the remaining years that are left in my career.
“Some people talk about the fact that I have not won a gold medal at a major championships but I have Olympic and World Championships silver medals‚ gold at the Commonwealth Games and I was the first South African to win a Diamond at the Diamond League.
"I don’t think that is bad at all‚” he said with a laugh‚ adding that he has started an advertising agency he plans to fully focus on after his retirement from the sport.
Mokoena finished second at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and he earned his other silver medal at the World Champs in Berlin the following year both in long jump.
He also won triple jump gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.