Mokoena and coach hope for gold

2011-08-20 14:11

Long-jumper Khotso Mokoena has left for the IAAF World Athletics Championships with his coach, Hansie Coetzee, in tow.

The 2009 championships silver medallist conceded that he struggled at the beginning of the year, but he said everything was in place now that Coetzee would be at his side during the global event in Daegu, South Korea.

“I am happy with my preparations even though I struggled a little bit at beginning of the year,” Mokoena told City Press before the team’s departure from OR Tambo International yesterday morning.

He added: “Everything is in place because I am travelling with my coach to the championships.”

While Mokoena has done well to retain his SA senior title during the domestic campaign, he said he was “not superhappy” with his performances on the European circuit.

“Internationally, I had six events and cooled off to save some energy for the championships. My performances were good, but I am not superhappy.
“But let’s wait and see what happens in the finals (in Daegu).”

Mokoena’s latest result was a 8.25m leap in France last month.

“It’s going to take more than 8.25 to get the gold medal. But with the normally buzzing atmosphere of the championships anything is possible.”

The 2008 Olympic silver medallist’s competition comes from Australian Mitchell Watt, who won bronze in Berlin. Watt has led the IAAF ranking all year long and his season best is 8.54m, a jump that broke Sydney 2000 Olympic silver medallist Jai Taurima’s Australian and Oceania record.

Mokoena starts his competition with the qualifiers on September 1 and the final pencilled in for the following day. Meanwhile, the defending women’s 800m world champion, Caster Semenya, refused to speak to City Press.

The other team members who left today were: Willem Coertzen (decathlon), Roscoe Engel (4x100m relay), Cornel Fredericks (400m hurdles), Elroy Gelant (5 000m), Luvo Manyonga (long jump), Lebogang Moeng (400m), Ofentse Mogawane (4x400m) and Robert Oosthuizen (javelin).

Some athletes are currently participating at the Student Championships in China and will join the team in Deagu.

They are: Willem de Beer (4x400m), Hannes Dreyer (4x100m), Simon Magakwe (100m), Stephen Mokoka (10 000m), Thuso Mpuang (100m), Justine Robbeson (javelin), Thumelo Thagane (triple jump), Shane Victor (4x400m) and Wenda Theron (400m hurdles).

The championships start next Saturday and finish on September 4.

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