SA duo misses out on Olympic qualifying times
Olympic long jump silver medalist Khotso Mokoena and South African 3000m steeplechase record holder Ruben Ramolefi narrowly missed out on qualifying for the London Olympic Games at the Doha Diamond League meeting on Friday.
Mokoena was, however, consistent in his first international meeting of the season and it should only be a matter of time before he reaches his second Olympic qualifying jump.
He hit the ground running with a first jump of 8.08m and followed it up with a leap of 8.10m to secure the silver medal.
With his third jump, Mokoena failed to reach the eight-metre mark but hit his straps once again with his final attempt.
The South African was beaten to first place by Russia’s Aleksandr Menkov who leapt into first place with his fourth and final jump of 8.22m.
The Russian failed to record a jump in his first three attempts while Kaba Badji of Senegal finished in third place 8.04m.
Meanwhile, Ramolefi struggled in the fastest 3000m steeplechase race of the season as he finished in 11th place.
He did, however, record a season’s best time of 8:24.28 in the process.
Ramolefi still needs to clock a second Olympic qualifying time after he set the first of two qualifying standards at last year's World Championships when he posted a time of 8:11.50 in the heats.
He has to dip below the qualifying time of 8:23.10 to secure his place to the Games.
Kenya’s Paul Kipsiele Koech won the race in a world season leading time of 7:56.58, narrowly beating compatriot Richard Mateelong who ran a time of 7:56.81.
The third place went to Roba Gari of Ethiopia, who posted a time of 8.06.16. – Sapa