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- Blitzboks skipper calls for improvement on home soil
- Runaway Test win for South Africa in India
- Olympian Stone pounces at Leopard Creek
- SA team extend lead in Indian Test
- Blitzboks blast past Kiwis to reach Dubai semi-finals
- Van Niekerk pays tribute to triumphant Bolt
- Banyana dominate but go down to Ghana in playoff
- Blitzboks bag three wins in Dubai
- International honours for Olympic coach Barrow
Mokoena makes merry in Marrakech with another SA record
- Updated: September 15, 2014
South African athletes played a large part in helping the African continent to a fine finish at the IAAF Continental Cup track and field competition in Marrakech, Morocco on Sunday, writes Mark Etheridge.
African athletes ended strongly as they won the final field event, the final track race as well as the final event of the competition.
Egyptian Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed won the men’s javelin with a heave 85.44 metres to become the first non-European winner of the Continental Cup.
South Africans were in the thick of things in final day action as Khotso Mokoena capped a fine season by getting silver with a new national triple jump record.
The veteran two time Olympian jumped 17.35m with his second attempt to end runner-up to France’s Benjamin Compaore, whose best of the night was 13cm further than Mokoena.
Mokoena’s mark was 10cm further than his former mark which was set nine years ago. ‘The season is officially finished and it ended with me smashing a South African record I set 9years ago,’ Mokoena commented on Facebook after his record. ‘God to you be all the glory,’ as he also gave credit to coach Emmarie Fouche.
On Monday, Mokoena went on to tell Road to Rio 2016: ‘An awesome season, fantastic! I finally got that SA record, we had planned for it to happen at World Cup and it did. I wanted a bit more but there’s still quite a bit of work we can do to improve that .. but all in all a great season.
‘I think I missed the African record by only two centimetres but that will come, that will come.’
The current continental triple jump record is held by Morocco’s Tarik Bouguetaib and indeed, at 17.37 is just two centimetres further than Mokoena’s new mark.
The final event of the competition, the 4x400m relay was a cracker jack affair with Wayde van Niekerk, anchoring the African team to a nail biting victory as the much vaunted America’s side failed to make an impact.
Veteran track ace Kim Collins, proved the weakest link for the America’s side as the 38-year-old lost valuable ground in the third leg after a storming second leg by Isaac Makwala.
Van Niekerk, silver medallist in the men’s 400m at last month’s Commonwealth Games in Scotland, held off Europea’s Martyn Rooney to seal gold in 3:00.02.
Earlier in the day Rikenette Steenkamp may have missed a medal in the 100m hurdles but her fifth-place in a personal best of 13.16sec will be hugely motivating after her lengthy spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
And in the men’s one-lap hurdles Cornel Fredericks’ win on Saturday sealed a stellar season as he won in 48.34sec to make it four major titles this season. He has now won the national title, Commonwealth title, African title and now the Continental Cup.
Other South Africans picking up medals for the continent were Sunette Viljoen, Commonwealth Games silver medallist in the javelin. She got silver again with a 63.76m effort while Zarck Visser, who celebrates his 25th birthday on Monday, got bronze in the long jump with a 7.96m leap.
The final points tally over two days of competition saw Europe accumulating 447.5 points, Americas ending runners-up with 390, Africa third (339) and Asia-Pacific fourth on 257.5 points.