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Commonwealth athletes fine-tune in Finland

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By Mark Etheridge

Commonwealth Games-bound athletes Khotso Mokoena, Zarck Visser and Wenda Theron were all in action at the Paavo Nurmi Games track and field meeting in Finland on Wednesday evening.

Long jumpers Mokoena and Visser placed first and fourth respectively at this latest edition of the Games that were first held back in 1957.

After opening with a 7.82m leap, Mokoena improved steadily before his best jump of the evening, an 8.02 metre effort, with his fourth attempt. Mokoena has been competing in the triple jump event as well until now.

Visser was unable to crack the 8m barrier, with his longest jump being the 7.68 that he landed with this second attempt. Earlier this month he jumped an 8.07 in Hengelo.

The only South African women in track action was Nel who won the 400m hurdles in 56.77 seconds, for a comfortable victory over Poland’s Joann Linkiewicz (57.25).

She set a personal best of 54.82 for this event in Marrackech earlier this month. “It wasn’t really a fantastic race but I’m still happy with the win,” Nel told Road to Rio 2016 on Thursday. “It was pretty cold, around 13deg Celsius!

“I didn’t take the final hurdle well, and almost fell but was still able to keep my balance and fight to the line for the win.

“Now I’m on my way to France for my last race before I come back to South Africa.”

Our men’s track action saw Jerry Motsau, not in the SA team for Glasgow, end second in the 1500m with a time of 3min 40.13sec as Kenya’s Elijah Manangoi won in 3:38.99. The other South African in the field, Mthobisi Baloyi, failed to finish.

The other SA athlete in action was Rantso Mokopane who took seventh in the 3000m steeplechase (8.58.43) as Italian Patrick Nasti won in 8:29.10.


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