Khotso gets Games green light
Delhi - Team South Africa will be expecting Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokoena to join the team here after the SASCOC chief medical officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra, on Wednesday cleared the long jumper.
Mokoena had ruled himself a doubtful starter owing to injury, but following testing and a thorough de-brief from medical staff, governing body SASCOC gave the athlete the green light despite recent reports that suggested he wouldn't be fit to compete.
The news came barely 24 hours after women's 800m world champion Caster Semenya had been withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games by SASCOC, after an MRI scan revealed injury to her lower back that could have been aggravated by taking part here.
However, the other talking point of the day was the decision to withdraw Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, the men's 800m world champion, leaving two of track and field's big guns injured back in South Africa.
"With Mokoena we find no reason that he can't compete at the highest level here at the Commonwealth Games," said Dr Manjra.
"There have been media reports that he hasn't been able to train for eight weeks and would be unfit for competition, but we have evidence which says otherwise. We feel that Mokoena is fit enough to come to Delhi and he will be injury-free and able to go for gold, which is what we expect of an athlete of his calibre," added the chief medical officer.
"In Mulaudzi's case we did extensive testing on him and found abnormalities. We therefore have decided to withdraw him from the squad," said Dr Manjra.
The remaining members of Team South Africa will continue to arrive in Delhi with the next big batch of fresh faces being the track and field athletes and the swimming team.
Yesterday, Team South Africa was officially welcomed into the athletes village by the mayor at a ceremony well attended.
After weeks of speculation over conditions, hygiene, security and general readiness though, this was a clear indication that come Sunday, the Commonwealth Games 2010 will be up and running.