Mokoena in search of form
Johannesburg - With the monkey of qualifying for the World Championships off his back, South African world long jump silver medallist Khotso Mokoena will be looking to hit the right form at the London Diamond League meeting on Friday.
Mokoena this year has had indifferent performances but is slowly but surely hitting the right form.
He qualified for this month’s IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea at the beginning of last month at the Paris Diamond League meeting.
The Olympic silver medallist was in danger of not qualifying for the championships until the Paris meeting after South African long jump pretender Luvo Manyonga bumped him out of the squad with an A-qualifying jump of 8.26m in Finland a week earlier.
Mokoena's best before Paris was a B-qualifying jump of 8.19m in Eugene, Oregan in early June.
The South African, however, showed his temperament in Paris with a jump of 8.25m to book his place alongside Manyonga in the world championships.
On Friday his fiercest competition will come from Australian Mitchell Watt who launched himself into the favourite position with a world leading 8.54m jump at last weekend’s Stockholm Diamond League meeting.
He set a new Australian long jump record in the process and would give Mokoena some much needed motivation to reach his best form.
Mokoena relinquished his number one position on the overall Diamond League standings in the long jump to the Australian and would hope to set the record straight in London.
Watt finished third behind Mokoena at the previous world championships and it seems like the Australian could reverse the roles in Korea.
The 26-year-old Mokoena, however, has a reputation for saving his best for big competitions and should not be disregarded just yet.
Olympic champion Irving Saladino of Panama who won the gold medal in Paris with a jump of 8.40m and Briton Chris Thomlinson who won silver with a 8.35m jump will also be in the field.