Olympics 2012

Mokoena into long jump final

2012-08-04 06:53
Khotso Mokoena (File)
London - Long Jumper Khotso Mokoena re-kindled South Africa's medal hopes after a disastrous first morning of athletics that saw potential 400m hurdle finalists LJ van Zyl and Cornel Fredericks eliminated in the first round heats.

"I am just grateful to be in the final. We battled the wind out there," said Mokoena who opted for a safety mark of 7.81m into a 1.5m head wind to secure a spot on the scoreboard after a first trial no-jump.

The 8.1m automatic qualification had looked realistic, but only American Marquise Goodwin and Brazil's Mauro Da Silva had exceeded the mark by the second round and Mokoena was 7cm short of the 7.88m required for twelfth place.

A twisted landing in his third jump allowed the Olympic silver medallist to squeeze out 8.02m for a fifth ranked place in Saturday night’s final.

LJ van Zyl's dreams were shattered in the morning session when he was unable to sustain his early charge in the 400m hurdles, dropping from second to sixth in the final 150m in a heat won by American Angelo Taylor in 49.29 seconds.

"I've struggled with a tendon behind the knee since April, but was determined to give it my best," said an emotional van Zyl.

"I've had to miss a number of competitions including the African championships final, but this was something I had to do."

Fortune also failed to favour Cornel Fredericks who blasted out of the blocks but damaged his hamstring over the first hurdle and by the back straight was doomed to a struggle to the finish line.

"I felt it twinge going over the first, and the reaction was worse on the second," said the 22 year old who made the final alongside van Zyl at last year's World championships and who had hopes of taking it further in London.

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius will draw worldwide attention on Saturday when he lines up for the 400m heats and becomes the first double amputee athlete to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics.

Read more on:    olympics 2012  |  khotso mokoena  |  athletics

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