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Mokoena’s gold in Kenya

By Mark Etheridge

Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokoena soared to South Africa’s second gold medal of the 17th African Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday.

Mokoena, who also won silver at last year’s world championships in Berlin, had battled with a few injury niggles early in the season, but was a comfortable winner.

His winning leap was 8.23m, 27cm shy of his personal best set in Madrid, but no-one cares about that. A gold medal was all that counted on the day.

His winning jump was his only effort beyond the 8m mark and enough to beat Senegal’s Ndiss Kaba Badji who leapt 8.10m for silver.

Dangerman Ignasious Gaisah didn’t take part in the final after battling with an old foot injury.

South Africa have now won six medals as they defend their medal-winning efforts from the last Games in Addis Ababa two years ago. We won three medals in the men’s shot put and then Simon Magakwe took a bronze in the men’s 100m earlier in the day.

Then Victor Hogan’s 58.11m earned him bronze in the men’s discus behind Egyptian Abdellatif El Ghazaly (59.30m) and another Egyptian Yasser Ibrahim Farag (58.71m).

Commonwealth and defending men’s 400m hurdles champion LJ Van Zyl won his heat in 49.73 to go through to the next round and ensure another chance of a medal for South Africa. Rising star Cornel Fredericks also went through with┬á a 49.82.

In the women’s 1500m Rene Kalmer took fifth spot in her heat and her 4:18.32 put her through to the final on Friday.

In the men’s flat 400m our Ofentse Mogawane’s 46.41 in the semis was not enough to get him through to the finals.