Mokoka eyes 10 000m qualifying time

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iol spt may17 Mokoka

Distance ace Stephen Mokoka would like to take advantage of the track speed he achieved this season and qualify for the 10 000m event at this year's London Olympic Games.

Mokoka, who has already qualified for the global showpiece in the marathon event, still needs to record a second qualifying time in the 10 000m.

The pint-sized athletes' coach, Michael Seme, said they would make a decision as to which one of the two events he would participate as soon as he qualified for the track event.

“Like all the athletes, he needs to qualify for a second time for the track, and he still has that speed,” said Seme.

“We want to see if he can run a fast lap time even if he didn't qualify for the marathon as well.”

Mokoka won the national 10 000m title on the track in April in a time of 27 minutes, 40.73 seconds (20:40.73), dipping below the Olympic qualifying standard of 27:45.00.

While Seme said they were still undecided on which event Mokoka would target at the Games, a decision to go for the 10 000m could hand veteran distance runner Hendrick Ramaala a lifeline to record a Olympic appearance.

Ramaala is the fourth fastest South African, but there are only three spots available in the country's marathon team for the Games, while Mokoka is the fastest qualifier.

If Ramaala manages to sneak into the South African Olympic team he could become the first South African to compete in five successive Olympic Games.

Seme said their decision would also depend on the startlist in both of the events.

It is, however, unlikely that Mokoka will choose the track event as it should have a world class field of Kenyans and Ethiopians.

Mokoka's training partner Gladwin Mzazi, who finished second at the SA Senior Championships in a time of 28:20.18, will be racing with Mokoka on the international circuit.

The duo, however, have yet to secure international races, Seme said.

“We are still in South Africa waiting for Mokoka's agent and, once he finalises everything, he will run with Mzazi who still needs to qualify for the 10 000m,” said Seme.

“They are going to help each other to compete against the fast Kenyans and Ethiopians.” – Sapa


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