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Mokoena makes it No 2

By Mark Etheridge

Khotso Mokoena secured South Africa’s second medal of the IAAF World Track and Field Championships with a silver medal in the long jump in Berlin, Germany Saturday night.

That means we’ve won two medals at the Championships, after controversial (through no fault of her own!) Caster Semenya took gold in the women’s 800m final on Wednesday.

The two medals are our first since Hestrie Cloete’s high jump success in 2003 in Paris.

Mokoena, South Africa’s sole medallist from last year’s Beijing Olympics (also silver), opened with a no-jump and then soared to an 8.47m effort. His other two legal jumps were a 8.31 and 8.19m effort.

That was good for silver, behind veteran Dwight Phillips of the United States who reached 8.54m.

A shock exit was Panama’s world champion Irving Saladino with three red-flagged efforts.

Bronze medallist was Australian Mitchell Watts, a huge talent, in 8.37m.

Mokoena may well be disappointed, especially after having set an African best of 8.50m a few weeks back, but he has proved, unlike many of his team-mates that he can at least deliver when it counts.

More medals? Mbuaeleni Mulaudzia will represent the country in the in the final of the 800m on Sunday night, while Tanith Maxwell wears the green and gold for the women’s marathon in the morning.

Earlier in the day the South African men’s 4x400m team bombed out by finishing last in the qualifying rounds of the heats in 3:07:88, as Belgium won in 3:02.13.

And still earlier the country’s marathoners were yet again out of the top 10 as Abel Kirui (27) of Kenya won in 2hr 06min 54sec, a World Championships record.

Countryman Emmanuel Mutai took silver, 54 seconds back, to give Kenya a 1-2 finish. Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia claimed the bronze, 1:41 off Kirui’s pace.

First South African was Norman Dlomo in 12th spot, clocking 2:14:39. He was followed by teammates Johannes Kekana and Coolboy Ngamole in 17th and 22nd spots overall. They ran 2:15.28 and 2:16;20 respectively and all our athletes ran best times for the year.