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Mokoena defends title

Last week it was a silver medal at the World Indoor track and field championships in Qatar…. on Saturday Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokoena retained his national outdoor long jump title at the Yellow Pages championships in Durban.

Mokoena leapt over eight metres outdoors for the first time this season when he reached 8.01m.

SuperSport reports that Mokoena won by 26cm with former national champion Keenan Watson settling for second with a best distance of 7.75m.

Rene Kalmer outclassed a quality field to win the women’s 5 000m title in perhaps the most impressive performance of the day.

Kalmer, who set three SA records on the indoor circuit this season, was the only athlete to go with defending champion Lebo Phalula who took the lead from the gun. Hitting the front for the first time shortly after the bell, Kalmer tore away to win easily in 15:51.31 with a 65-second final lap.

Phalula came home second in 15:58.34 and Thozama April ran a well-judged race to finish third a further 14 seconds behind.

Stephen Mokoka was always in control in the men’s 10 000m final, erratically changing the pace at the front as the lead group was gradually whittled down. The race started a little more than an hour after Mokoka had won a fast 1 500m heat in 3:42.81, but he showed no signs of fatigue after a slow start in the longest track race. Only Gladwin Mzazi was able to hold on as Mokoka piled on the pressure, but even he was dropped when the defending champion pulled away down the finishing stretch to retain the title in 28:18.54. Mzazi placed second in 28:20.40.

African record holder Chris Harmse improved an 82-year-old record for the most South African titles won in any athletics event. Harmse, 36, earned his 15th gold medal with a 73.54m heave in the men’s hammer throw final, falling only 81cm short of the Commonwealth Games A qualifying standard.

The previous record was held by Cecil McMaster, a bronze medallist at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, who won 14 national titles in walking events between 1914 and 1928.

Roelie Potgieter secured gold in the men’s shot put with a 19.38m heave, with former Commonwealth Games champion Burger Lambrechts taking second with a best distance of 18.46m.

Janice Josephs produced the best distance by a South African this year when she leaped 6.32m to win the women’s long jump final. Defending champion Delia Smith hung on for second place in 6.19m.

The championships continue on Sunday.


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