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Khotso stays home

By Mark Etheridge

Team SA for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Hungary this weekend has been cut to just three on Tuesday with the news that long jumper Khotso Mokoena has been withdrawn from the team.

Mokoena, our lone silver medallist at the Beiijing Olympics four years ago, decided along with coach Hansie Coetzee that he is not ready to compete after his recent performances in Europe.

This after he had competed in Dusseldorf, Germany and Birmingham, England at indoor competitions last month where he jumped 7.98 and 7.89 metres respectively.

Mokoena will instead focus on building a solid foundation as part of his Olympic preparation.

Meanwhile middle-distance runner Elroy Gelant’s preparations continue for the Indoor champs that start on Friday and end on Sunday.

He’ll be lining up for the 3,000m event. “It will be my first indoor competition, I’ve only trained on an indoor track while staying in Germany during competition season but yes I’m very excited because its a great opportunity to compete against the best so I’m really looking forward to it,” Gelant told Road to London 2012.

“I’m not sure what time we will run as it is a World Championships and so it will probably be tactical with a kick in the last 1000m. We can run any time in the heats, but I’m looking for a time around 7.48 – 7.50 in the heats.. finals will be much faster I think and I will look at a top eight position with a time of between 7min 44sec and 7.46.

“My goal is to make the finals, Friday will be the heats and Sunday the finals,” said the Potchefstroom based athlete who was in action at the Yellow Pages interprovincial in Bellville at the weekend where he placed third (13:45.65) in a 5000m race won by Gladwin Mzazi (13:28.25).

“The wind was bad in Bellville but I didn’t really feel at the time we were running, but otherwise Steven and Gladwin really ran a good race.

Mokoena’s withdrawal means that Gelant will be accompanied by just two other South Africans in the shape of Lehann Fourie (60m hurdles) and Burger Lamprechts (shot put).


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