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Mokoena wins by far

By Mark Etheridge

Beijing Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokoena won the long jump at the opening IAAF Golden League meeting of the year in Berlin, Germany Sunday, equalling his best leap of the year with a leap of 8.33 metres in front of a crowd of 65,000.

The South African’s winning effort was 18 centimetres further than the runner-up and equalled his best of the year, recorded in Greece late last month.

With in-form world leaders American Dwight Phillips (8.74m) and Olympic champion, Irving Saladino, of Panama (8.63) not in action this time round, Greece’s Louis Tsatoumas was runner-up and Senegal’s Ndiss Kaba Badji third (8.05m). Third on the world list this year, Salim Sdiri of France was fifth on the day.

Mokoena (24), who also had two jumps of 8.27 and one of 8.20m, led from start  to finish after opening with a 8.27m. He maintained his fifth place on the 2009 world best and is looking good for the business-end of the season. His personal best is 8.39m.

Sadly for Mokoena, the long jump is not one of the official 10 Golden League events that qualify for the million dollar jackpot.

Also in action on Sunday, a South African 4 x 100m relay team (Hannes Dreyer, Tshegofatso Meshoe, Morne Nagel and Thuso Mpuang) finished seventh in a special relay event in 39.94 sec while Estie Wittstock (8th) was outclassed with a last placed 53.39 sec in the women’s 400 metres.

Sprinters Dreyer and Meshoe didn’t too much over the 100m, returning times of┬á 10.70 and 10.75 respectively.