Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
26 Aug 2015
9:00 am

Mokoena jumps at second chance

Wesley Botton

Shoving his disappointment in the long jump to the back of his mind, Khotso Mokoena said yesterday he hoped to make up for it in the men's triple jump event at the World Athletics Championships.

Khotso Mokoena. File Picture: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

Mokoena, Zarck Visser and Ruswahl Samaai, all considered medal hopefuls in Beijing, crashed out in the qualifying round of the single-leap discipline on Monday.

While his compatriots will have to wait for next year’s Rio Olympics to prove they have the necessary big-match temperament at the highest level, Mokoena was set to receive another opportunity in the opening round of the hop, skip and jump in the early hours of this morning (SA time).

A former world junior triple jump champion, Mokoena has focused on the long jump for most of his career, earning Olympic and World Championships silver medals.

Last season he started tackling both disciplines again, breaking his own national triple jump mark (17.35m) to finish second at the Continental Cup in Marrakech.

Though his 2015 campaign has included only a handful of triple jump competitions, he felt he could still put up a fight against the world’s best, with a long-term goal of doubling up again in Rio.

“I was disappointed when I didn’t make the cut,” said Mokoena, who missed out on the long jump final on countback.

“But at the moment I’m trying to put all that behind and try focus on the challenge ahead. I want to be in the triple jump final.”

On a relatively quiet day for Team SA on yesterday’s fourth day of competition, Anaso Jobodwana (20.23sec) and Akani Simbine (20.22) cruised through the first-round heats of the men’s 200m, progressing to this afternoon’s semifinals.

The national squad will hope to bag their first medal today when Wayde van Niekerk (400m, 3.25pm) and Wenda Nel (400m, hurdles, 2.10pm) compete in the finals of their respective disciplines.