Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
15 Aug 2016
9:15 pm

Khotso Mokoena calls it quits on comedown day for SA

Wesley Botton

Khotso Mokoena, one of SA's most accomplished athletes over the past decade, has announced his retirement in Rio.

Khotso Mokoena. File Picture: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

The 31-year-old former Olympic and World Championships long jump silver medallist crashed out in the qualifying round of the men’s triple jump at the Rio Olympics on Monday, after producing a best leap of 16.51m, and he felt the time was right to call it quits.

“It’s unfortunate I wasn’t able to pull it through and go to the final but I’ve had a long season,” he said.

“I’ve done the best I could in my career, and I’m happy to hang up my spikes and walk away.”

Mokoena earned world indoor (2008) and Commonwealth Games (2014) titles in his career, along with numerous other international medals, and held the national long jump (8.50m) and triple jump (17.35m) records at the time of his retirement.

Elsewhere in the early session on day 10 of the Olympics, LJ van Zyl was the only SA athlete to progress in a track event.

Van Zyl clocked 49.12 seconds to finish second in his 400m hurdles heat, booking his place in Tuesday’s semifinals.

Compatriots Le Roux Hamman (49.72) and Lindsay Hanekom (50.22) took seventh place in their respective first-round races and were both eliminated.

In the women’s 200m event, Alyssa Conley was fourth in her heat in 23.17 and Justine Palframan finished fifth in her opening race in 23.33, and they were both knocked out.

Meanwhile, in open water swimming, Michelle Weber finished 18th in 1:59:05 in the women’s 10km race, completing the contest more than two minutes behind Dutch winner Sharon van Rouwendaal.

Canoeist Bridgitte Hartley, who earned the 500m bronze medal at the 2012 London Games, finished third in her 200m semifinal, and she was set to compete in the B final on Tuesday.