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Mokoena only sixth

By Mark Etheridge

Khotso Mokoena looked a mere shadow of the man who won Olympic and World Championships silver medals in 2008 and 2009 in London on Friday night.

Competing in the Aviva Grand Prix Diamond League meeting at the historic Crystal Palace venue, Mokoena looked to be jumping with the handbrake on as he failed to get past the eight metre barrier.

He opened with a 7.40 metre effort and closed with a 7.81m.

Sandwiched between on his penultimate effort was his best of the evening a 7.93m.

But with the top three finishers on the night all opening with leaps of 8.19m or further Mokoena was never in the hunt and his 7.93m was only good for a lowly sixth.

The opening 8.45m jump by Australian season-leader Mitchell Watt was a meeting record and beat British duo Chris Tomlinson (8.30m) and Greg Rutherford (8.19) into second and third spot respectively.

Mokoena’s other distances were 7.66, 7.75 and 7.89, consistent but nowhere near his season’s best of 8.25 or his personal best of 8.50 and he’s going to improve, literally, in leaps and bounds if he’s going to get near the medals at World Championships in South Korea later this month. He admitted so on his Facebook internet site after the meeting: “6th in the meeting.. have a lot of work to do before the championship. Aaaahhhhh”

He’s still in second spot in the Diamond Race with six points, six points down on Watt and now level with Rutherford.

In the two 800m races which hold huge interest for South Africans with Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Caster Semenya being world champions it was world record-holder David Rudisha and homegirl Jenny Meadows who prevailed.

Rudisha saw Kenyan pacemaker and pal Sammy Tangui take the field through halfway in 49.61 before easing away down the home straight to win in 1:42.91, a meeting record, and holding off archrival Abubaker Kaki of Sudan (second in 1:43.13, a season’s best for him).

In the women’s race Jenny Meadows, third when Semenya won World Championships in Berlin two years ago, ended Jamaican Kenia Sinclair’s unbeaten run with an impressive win.

A fast first lap of 56.61 took a lot out of Sinclair in the second lap and she had no answer to Meadows’ strong finish. Meadows went on to win in a season’s best 1:58.60 with Sinclair second in 1:59.16.


1 comments
Gideon Sam
Gideon Sam

Happy to note that Khotso realises that he still has some work to do. That's a sign of a good champion. Champions look within to find the fault and work on it. It's a case of "cometh the hour, cometh the man." South Korea, here we come.