Mokoka makes merry | SASCOC - SASCOC

Mokoka makes merry

Stephen Mokoka clocked the fifth fastest time yet by a South African at the Yellow Pages SA Student Championships in Stellenbosch on Friday when he  won the 10,000 metres in 27min 56.18sec.

That time was also inside the IAAF B-Qualifier for the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea later this year. Only SA recordholder Hendrik Ramaala, Xolile Yawa, Shadrack Hoff and Matthews ‘Loop en Val’ Motshawarateu have bettered Mokoka’s time.

Manfred Seidler reports that at the SA Senior Championships in Durban on 10 April, Mokoka ran a solo effort of 28:06.65, a massive personal best by 13sec but not good enough for a World Championship Qualifier ÔÇô the IAAF B-Qualifier is exactly 28 minutes.

Setting off at a more sedate pace at the Student Championships than the SA Senior Championships, the Tshwane University of Technology ace and team-mate Gladwin Mzazi moved away from the field within the first seven laps of the 25 lap race.

Only Gert Manora was able to go with the duo. Halfway was covered in 14:08 with the trio sharing the work. Gradually Mokoka upped the pace and Manora started to fall off.

With 600m left even the resilient Mzazi had to give way to the relentless pace poured on by Mokoka, and when the national champion got the bell the clock read exactly 27minutes.

What followed was a sight for sore eyes as Mokoka blitzed a 56sec last lap and looked comfortable doing it. ÔÇ£We went out too fast at SA’s. The first kilometre was done in 2:37 which cost us. Our coach (Michael Seme) was very upset with us and this time we stuck to 66, 67sec laps so we had something left in the second half of the race,ÔÇØ said a grinning Mokoka afterwards.

ÔÇ£I know we can go faster,” said Mokoka who will now go back to ÔÇ£winter workÔÇØ, as ÔÇ£it has been a long track season already, I have raced now solidly for four months. It is time to put something back into the tank.ÔÇØ

In addition to a full track season, Mokoka also ran at the Africa Cross Country Championships (6 March), the World Cross Country Championships (19 March), where he finished 15th for the joint best ever performance by a South Africa; and last Saturday finished second in a half-marathon in China, clocking 61:42.

Mzazi was able to run a massive personal best of 28:09;33 ÔÇô shaving 11 seconds off his previous best of 28:20.40. Both Mokoka and Mzazi have booked their places on the team that will compete at the World Student Championships in Shenzen, China from 12-23 August.

Another big name in action was Caster Semenya who won the 1500m women’s race with ease, completely controlling proceedings from the gun and won her first of potentially four titles in 4:22.64.

The close finish times between first, second and third are deceptive, as Semenya was never under threat. Later in the afternoon she made it two from two with a win in the 400m, defeating specialist 400m hurdler Wenda Theron. Semenya timed her race to perfection after Theron set the early pace, leading through 200m. In the final 120m Semeya surged, and although Theron tried valiantly to hold on, Semenya won her second gold medal of the day in 53.18sec.

Pharson Magagane stole a march on a competitive field in the men’s 1500m when he surged ahead halfway through the second lap. Magagane opened a gap of around 20m on a pack that included a resurgent Andre Olivier, Tshamano Setone and Molefe Molefe.

The pack thought that Magagane would come back to them, but instead the man who earlier this year recorded an exact 4min mile, stayed ahead and won in 3:44.95.

Simon Magakwe is fast becoming the king of sprinting. Earlier this year he became only the second athlete to ever win three SA Sprint (100m) titles in row, he now has also won the last two 100m sprints at the Student Championships. On Friday he won the 100m dash in 10.33

Zark Visser came out trumps in the battle of the long jumpers with a final leap of 7.85m.

Selected results
Men 10 000m

1. Stephen Mokoka (TUT)                                    27:56.18 (PB)
2. Gladwin Mzazi (TUT)                                             28:09.33 (PB)
3. Gert Manora (PUK)                                             28:49.22
Women 1500m
1. Caster Semenya (TUKS)                                    4.22.64
2. Mandie Brandt (UJ)                                             4.22.79
3. Maxine Heine-Wacker (UJ)                                    4.22.99
Men 1500m
1. Pharson Magagane (UJ)                                    3.44.95
2. Andre Olivier (PUK)                                             3.45.92
3. Jerry Motsau (PUK)                                             3.45.97