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Fri Apr 18 16:12:31 SAST 2014

Mokoena fails to launch at Games

Ockert de Villiers, Sapa | 05 August, 2012 08:540 Comments
Olympics Day 8 - Athletics
Khotso Mokoena of South Africa competes in the men's long jump final on day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Stu Forster / Getty Images

Long jumper Khotso Mokoena could not repeat his silver medal performance from four year’s ago in Saturday’s long jump final at the London Olympic Games, finishing in eight place.

Mokoena, South Africa’s only medallist at the 2008 Beijing Games, recorded a best jump of 7.93 metres in the London final.

After the disappointment of finishing last, Mokoena vowed he would bounce back at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

“These weren’t my Olympic Games, but definitely not the last,” Mokoena said.

“I am happy to be here, it’s another championships and you win some, you lose some.

“From here on, I just have to go back to the drawing-board, fix a few things and come back stronger.”  

Mokoena struggled with his run-up rhythm throughout the evening and recorded four fouls out of his six jumps.

The 27-year-old advanced to the final in seventh place after Friday’s qualifiers, with a best jump of 8.02 metres, but failed to get over the eight-metre mark on Saturday.

Only two men reached the automatic qualifying standard of 8.10m with Marquise Goodwin of the United States and Mauro Vinicius da Silva of Brazil jumping 8.11.

Mokoena’s first jump of 7.93, in the final, placed him among the top in the field but he could not muster enough strength to catapult himself into the lead.

He fouled his next jump and, in his only other legal jump, Mokoena took a step backwards with a leap of 7.62.

Britain’s Greg Rutherford was the deserved gold medallist with a leap of 8.31 in front of a spirited and packed Olympic Stadium.

Australia’s Mitchell Watt finished second with 8.16, while Will Claye of the United States took the bronze medal, his jump measuring 8.12.

Meanwhile, Oscar Pistorius made history on Saturday, finishing second in his first-round heat in the men’s 400 metres sprint, to become the first amputee athlete to compete on the track at the Olympic Games.

Pistorius clocked 45.44, just 0.37 seconds off his personal best, to qualify automatically in the first of seven heats for Sunday night’s semi-finals in London.

Luguelin dos Santos of the Dominican Republic won the race in 45.04, with the top three in each heat going through to the second round.

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