Khotso Mokoena leads SA charge in Qatar

2014-05-08 10:42

Recently crowned SA triple jump champion Khotso Mokoena and national long jump champ Zarck Visser will open the first meeting of the lucrative IAAF Diamond League in Doha, Qatar.

The one-day track and field event will run from 6pm (SA time) tomorrow.

Mokoena and Visser will take to the long jump runway eyeing the $10 000 (about R100 000) first- place prize and valuable points in the opening leg of the international event that is made up of a 14-meeting series.

The pair leads the South African contingent with 1 500m bronze medallist Johan Cronje, 800m Olympian Andre Olivier, national javelin multiple champ Sunette Viljoen and discus thrower, Victor Hogan.

An added motivation for the group will be to garner enough marks to meet the selection criterion for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland later this year.

The Doha meeting will be the first competition in the long jump for Mokoena this year after he added the triple jump to his disciplines.

Visser will line up in Qatar on the back of an impressive run on the domestic front with a third ranking in the world thanks to the 8.31m he leaped at the SA Senior Track and Field Championships in Pretoria last month.

The Doha track holds fond memories for Kovsies Athletics runner Cronje, as his time of 3:33.46 in last year’s race broke the then 20-year record (3:33.56) that Johan Landsman set in August 1993.

The only woman in the group, Viljoen, will also compete in the Gulf nation on a high after she clinched her ninth SA title with a 64.77m heave at last month’s SA championships.

Her mark is ranked third in the global top lists behind World Championships silver medallist Kimberley Mickle of Australia (66.83m) and her compatriot, Kathryn Mitchell (66.10m).

The Diamond League encompasses 32 individual event disciplines with points at stake for the top three finishers and a wild card for the World Championships.

» Catch the action from Doha live on SS9 from 6pm SA time

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