Mokoena into long jump final

2013-08-14 15:15
Godfrey Khotso Mokoena (File)
Moscow - South African long jump hopeful Khotso Mokoena believes his hard work and dedication has finally paid-off, as he looks to regain his best form.

Mokoena qualified for Friday's final at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow on Wednesday morning, completing three successful jumps.

He opened with a 7.68m jump, stepped up with a 7.96m attempt, before exceeding the required 8.10m qualifying mark by six centimetres on his final attempt.

The 28-year-old had his best seasons in 2008 and 2009, when he won his Olympic silver in Beijing and added the World Championship silver in Osaka a year later.

"No matter what trials and tribulations I've had, I continued to work hard and when you work hard you reap what you sow," Mokoena said following his qualification.

"I'm happy with the qualification and looking forward to the final, Friday is a new day."

In previous championship qualifiers, Mokoena struggled to find his rhythm, but on Wednesday, he seemed to adapt to the stadium's new track.

"It's quite a fast track. For the last one I even had to shorten my run up so I could hit the board.

"I'm not consistent with my speed for the run up so I've had to learn to change distances."

Mokoena added that he was looking forward to the final, where he hoped he could repeat Wednesday's performance.

"The Gold (medal) is open. Eusebio Caceres jumped 8.25 with the first attempt, (Dwight) Phillips can't be discounted and I'm also there... it's going to be interesting and I can't wait."

Fellow South African Zarck Visser missed out on the final, only managing a best effort of 7.79m.

The final will be held on Friday at 17:30 SA time.

Meanwhile, Johan Cronje had a comfortable progression to the semi-finals in heat two of the 1 500m where he placed fourth.

Cronje finished in a time of three minutes, 39.95 seconds, and said he was delighted with his run.

"For a change I felt really well," Cronje said.

"I made sure I positioned myself in the front, whereas in the past I was always boxed in the back and I couldn't get out of the race.

"From the first lap, it's always difficult to get in so this time upfront, it was pretty much easy going from there."

Cronje predicted a difficult semi-final run, but hoped he could keep up with the rest of the pack, following Wednesday's gruelling run.

"I think the semi is going to be even harder than the final, so I'm going to make sure I'm ready for a hard one."

Read more on:    athletics

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