fast little loans
Former national ballroom dancing champion Khotso Mokoena could not find the rhythm to take him to gold at the Olympics yesterday.
And three no jumps to end his sequence meant he continued his run of disappointing major championships by ending eighth in the long jump final.
Mokoena did not have the same poise and elegance that earned him a national ballroom dancing title as a teenager, and after a solid opening jump he always looked to be reaching for distance and left the stadium with that first effort of 7,93 his best jump of the night, way short of his season best 8,25 and 38cm away from gold which was won by Briton Greg Rutherford. Australian Mitchell Watt was second with American Will Clay taking the bronze.
For the Beijing silver medallist, the result is a continuation of a difficult run which has seen him struggle in major international competitions since his silver medals at the 2010 World Indoor Championships and 2009 World Championships.
It was another tough day for South Africa’s class of 2012 Olympic athletes with Oscar Pistorius’s qualification for the 400m semifinals the only reason to celebrate going into the evening programme.
The women’s triathletes and hockey players, as well as cycling sprinter Bernard Esterhuizen and sailors Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson were all in action in front of huge and very vocal weekend crowds yesterday, but there was not much for the South African supporters to shout about.
The two triathletes, Gillian Sanders and Kate Roberts, provided the highlight for Team South Africa with Sanders, in particular, staying in contention until the last few kilometres of her gruelling 1,5km-swim, 43km-ride and 10km-run event.
Both South Africans came out of the water within about 10 seconds of the first leg leader and they were both in the second group of riders out of the transition, chasing a bunch of six early leaders on the bike leg.
Sanders went through the final transition with the leaders and started the run in contact with the bunch of 12 runners, but as the pace picked up she was unable to hold on and slowly slipped away to finish 19th overall, three places and 18 seconds ahead of a fast-finishing Roberts and 2,40 behind the photo finish for first between Swiss Nicola Spirig and Sweden’s Lisa Norden.
In yesterday’s opening women’s hockey match, South Africa conceded an early goal to Australia in the eighth minute and spent the rest of the game trying to get back on level terms. The result means South Africa will finish in the bottom two positions of their pool, with their final group game against the US the last chance to grab a victory before the play-offs. “We made wrong decisions ... we shoot where we should actually pass and we were not clinical enough,” said Kate Woods.
The world’s leading goal scorer, Pietie Coetzee, was disappointed with their inability to finish. “The strategy was to put a lot of pressure on Australia and it worked well, unfortunately we could not finish it off. We need to focus on that.”
For Esterhuizen, a 15th position out of 17 in the sprint qualification race meant a tough round of 16 match-up against German legend Robert Forstemann, who, not surprisingly, used his gigantic thighs to power ahead of the 19-year-old over the all-important final 200m. “I felt okay in qualifying, but the time wasn’t so good,” said Esterhuizen after his ride.
Sailors Jim and Hudson continued in pretty much the same vein as their previous four races in their 470 class racing at Weymouth when they finished last in the fleet for the third time and the battle for the pair is to avoid the wooden spoon.