By Mark Etheridge
Former Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokoena and middle-distance ace Johan Cronje both qualified for the next stages of their events at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday.
Mokoena hit pay dirt with his third and final attempt during the long jump qualifying round. He landed an 8.16m effort after opening jumps of 7.68 and 7.96m. That saw him move automatically into the final with 8.10 pegged at instant qualification.
But fellow SA jumper Zarck Visser wasn’t as fortunate and his two jumps of 7.78 ad 7.79 weren’t enough (he had a no-jump on his second attempt).
Mokoena’s mark was the second best in qualifying, only beaten by Spain’s Eusebio C├íceres’ 8.25. Final qualifying jump was by Netherland’s Ignasious Gaisah with a 7.89, meaning Visser was 10cm short of qualifying.
Such are the vagaries of long jump that there was no place for Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford after the Brit could only jump 7.87m.
In the men’s 1500m, the in-form Johan Cronje ended fourth in the second of three heats to book his place in the semi-final.
He clocked 3:39.95 to automatically qualifyÔÇª the first six in each heat were guaranteed a place in the semis. Winning Cronje’s heat was Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat in 3:39.31 but Cronje clearly had lots left in the tank, with numerous glances over his shoulder down the finishing straight to ensure that he just did enough to place in the top six. That after taking the field through 1200 mark in 2:59.24.
Also in action for Team SA was Olympian Marc Mundell who ended 31st in the men’s 50km walk, almost exactly 20 minutes after the race was won by Ireland’s Robert Heffernan in 3hr 37min 56sec.
Mundell clocked a season’s best 3:57.55 in a race that saw eight disqualifications, six non-finishers and one non-starter. His time was just over two minutes outside the 3:55:32 personal best he set at the Olympics in London last year.