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Olympian Mokoena conquers his namesakes

A dream of Olympic silver medallist Khotso “Croc” Mokoena for many years finally came to fruition in Tongaat, north of Durban on Monday when he lived up to his name!
The long jumper leapt above a creek of crocodiles with umpteen more watching from the surrounding shadows at Crocodile Creek which is home to over 5,000 Nile crocodiles.

ÔÇ£This was something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. It was about testing myself, my mental strength and overcoming the fear. As an athlete I’m constantly pushing myself, embracing that animal instinct to go as far as I can,ÔÇØ said a chuffed Khotso. ÔÇ£I think I’m half-man, half-croc.ÔÇØ

A special run up was created in the landscape to ensure that Khotso put his best foot forward.

Khotso’s obsession with all things crocodilian stems from his heritage. His surname ‘Mokoena’ literally translates to “he/she who swears by a crocodile,ÔÇØ in Sesotho and the animal is the collective identity for the clan. He also bears multiple crocodile tattoos on his body including the words ‘Crocodile Bites.’

Owner of Crocodile Creek and crocodile expert Peter Watson explains the challenges in working with the reptiles for the shoot: ÔÇ£Crocs are most dangerous when in the water as they can propel themselves upwards up to four metres with force. It was important that Khotso understood that the animals could be unpredictable and that it was in his best interests to jump as far and as high as he could.

Peter has been working with the animals for over 30 years since Crocodile Creek was established in the early 1980’s.

To perform the jump Khotso took time out of his stringent training regime ahead of his upcoming Diamond League appearances ÔÇô the first of which is in Shanghai, China on 18 May.


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