Mokoena to compete in China

2013-05-17 15:17
Khotso Mokoena (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Two of South Africa's London Olympic finalists, Khotso Mokoena and Lehann Fourie, will line up against some of the world's best athletes at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting in China on Saturday.

The duo will be joined by countryman Robert Oosthuizen, who competes in the men's javelin throw, with all three athletes aiming to qualify for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, in August.

Fourie, the South African 110m hurdles record holder, will be running in his first international race since he set a new national mark of 13.24 seconds in Belgium in September.

The 26-year-old said he was struggling with a leg injury and he had been in doubt for the Shanghai meeting.

"My preparations have not gone that well as I injured a tendon in my hamstring in February," Fourie said.

"It was recovering but I injured my leg again three weeks ago. I am relatively fit."

He had to cancel a number of meetings due to the injury and will test his leg at the Diamond League meeting.

Fourie said breaking the South African high hurdles record had given his career a boost and he believed if he stayed healthy he could improve on that time.

"The record has always been a barrier for me and now that I've gone over it, I feel I can do better," he said.

He will have his work cut out, running against three athletes who boast sub-13 second performances, including world record holder and Olympic champion Aries Merritt of the United States.

London Olympic silver medallist Jason Richardson and Beijing Olympic bronze medallist David Oliver of the US are also part of the star-studded field.

Fourie needs to dip below 13.40 seconds to add his name to the growing list of South African athletes who have already qualified for the global showpiece in Russia.

Fourie said his goal was to reach the final at the world championships.

"Now that I've been in a final I can prepare myself better for the race," he said.

"It is going to be difficult because America can send four hurdles athletes this year because they have a defending champion.

"The qualification criteria is much tougher than before, so only the best athletes will be there."

Meanwhile, national long jump record holder Mokoena will battle it out against the three London Olympic medallists and the defending world champion.

Olympic champion Greg Rutherford of Britain, world champion Dwight Phillips of the US and Australian Olympic silver medallist Mitchell Watt will all be contending for silverware.

Mokoena, however, is one of only three athletes in the field who have jumped over eight metres this season.

Oosthuizen will hope to make amends for missing out on last year's London Games.

The 26-year-old South African has made a promising start to the season after producing an 81.97m heave in Potchefstroom in April.

He will have his sights set on a throw of 83.50m, which would secure his place in the team for the global championships.

Oosthuizen will compete against a classy field which includes Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago, and Norway's former Olympic champion, Andreas Thorkildsen.

Read more on:    khotso mokoena  |  athletics

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