Mokoena bags another gold for Team SA

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iol spt aug3 Khotso Reuters Khotso Mokoena won South Africa's 13th medal on a rainy night in Glasgow, when he won the men's triple jump. Photo by: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Johannesburg – Khotso Mokoena won South Africa's 13th medal on a rainy night in Glasgow on Saturday, when he won the men's triple jump with a leap of 17.20 metres.

Mokoena was the only competitor to go over 17 metres, and he was so confident of his success that he passed up his fifth and sixth jumps. Tosin Oke of Nigeriawas second, with a distance of 16.84m, and Arpinder Singh Arpinder of India third, with a leap of 16.63.

Other South African athletes were not as successful.

Johan Cronje was nudged into fourth place by five hundredths of a second by New Zealander Nick Willis in the men's 1500 metres.

“My worst nightmare,” said a gutted Cronje after the race.

“I was saying to my coach and my family that I was stressing that I came fourthÄ and now it has happened.”

After an easy start that saw the field going through the first 400m in 58.64 seconds, Cronje moved up on the outside with the aim of positioning himself for the final 500m.

“I don't know if I used too much energy in the bumping on the first two laps; Then I had to fight for position,” said the Bloemfontein athlete.

“When I came off the bend I thought I could win the race. I don't know what happened, perhaps it was too big for me.”

The Moscow Bronze medalist was in second spot behind James Kiplagat Magut with Ronald Kwemoi third and accelerating.

That trio looked to be clear, but New Zealander Willis charged down the straight from sixth spot, dipping from two metres out to take third in 3:39.60. Magut's gold came in 3:39.31, with Kwemoi 3:39.53 and Cronje fourth in 3:39.65.

“When the last lap came I was already wide, had to stay wide, I feel that maybe I expended energy early on that I could've used in the final straight,” continued Cronje who was unaware of Willis chasing him down on the outside.

Rocco van Rooyen finished sixth in the men's javelin, with a throw of 76.84 metres. The event was won by Julius Yego of Kenya.

South Africa finished fourth in the men's 4x100m relay, which was won in record time by Jamaica. England were second, with Trinidad and Tobago picking up the bronze medal.

It was the story of South Africa's evening where the women's hockey also missed out on the bronze medal after capitulating to New Zealand in the their play-off.

Having already met and lost to the Black Sticks 2-1 in the group match, it was always going to be a tough ask for the South African women to up their game for the medal. New Zealand won 5-2,after leading 2-1 at halftime.

“Crucial errors cost us,” said captain Marsha Cox, who believe the team had a successful campaign in Glasgow.

“At the end of the day we are playing against full-time athletes, whereas many of our players were sitting exams or working immediately prior to the games. In that regard the playing fields are not equal, so we've done really well.”

The men's hockey team finished fifth overall, having beaten Canada 7-3 in the play-off match.

“It was a superb performance by all team members in very tough conditions,” said captain Austin Smith.

“We are now looking forward to Rio 2016 (Olympics). We have a fantastic group here. We want to set a good programme, play against good teams to have a good result there.” – Sapa


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