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Khotso’s ‘London leap’

Khotso Mokoena, South Africa’s champion long jumper, visited the UK Border Agency offices in Pretoria on Leap Year on Wednesday to have his biometric data taken as preparation for his participation in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Although members of the Olympic family are exempt from visa requirements for the Games, biometric data needs to be provided to immigration officials by everyone entering the UK. The data consists of fingerprints and a digital photograph.

To assist in ensuring a smooth arrival in the UK, the British High Commission in Pretoria has been working with the South African Olympics body SASCOC to gather all the required biometric data.

Said Mr Kashif Chaudry, UK Border Agency’s Africa Director: ÔÇ£We are delighted to be able to assist SASCOC and the South African athletes who are travelling to the 2012 London Games and we hope that we have played our part in making their journeys, from this starting point to the finish line, as smooth and successful as possible.ÔÇØ

SASCOC president Gideon Sam was appreciative of the efforts. “At SASCOC we aim to give every last bit of support to our athletes. Many of them are devoting their days and nights to qualifying for the Games so this sort of assistance gives them something less to worry about.”

Tubby Reddy, SASCOC CEO, also expressed his gratitude. “Delivering a team for an event such as the Olympic Games is a huge undertaking in itself, so assistance such as we are getting from the British High Commission is absolutely invaluable and greatly appreciated. It is also fitting that our silver medallist from the last Olympics in Beijing, Khotso Mokoena, is the athlete to have his biometric data gathered here.”


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