Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
MOKOKA, SAMAAI SHINE AT COETZENBURG
Distance runner Stephen Mokoka and long jumper Ruswahl Samaai were the standout performers at the SA Senior Championships in Stellenbosch at the weekend.
After winning the men’s 10 000m final on the opening day, with an anticipated fast time hampered by strong winds, Mokoka had said he would give the 5 000m a miss.
He nonetheless turned up for the 12-and-a-half lap race and charged to an impressive solo victory in 13:11.44, breaking Shadrack Hoff’s long-standing national record.
Hoff has set the previous mark of 13:14.16 in Gateshead in July 1995.
“I never planned for this because I thought Elroy (Gelant) would be the first one to break the record,” Mokoka said.
With Gelant pulling out during the race, after struggling again with a nerve in his lower back which affected his upper leg, Mokoka broke away in the early stages and held on to clock the fastest ever time by a South African.
“The 10 000m is my better distance, but during the race I felt good and the commentator kept saying I was inside the record so I just kept going. I’m very happy with this time.”
On Friday, Samaai had launched an 8.38m leap in the men’s long jump, improving his personal best by 25 centimetres.
His performance lifted the 23-year-old athlete to second place in the all-time SA rankings behind Khotso Mokoena’s national record of 8.50m.
“Words cannot describe how I feel at this moment,” Samaai said.
“The World Championships (in Beijing in August) and the Olympics next year are the big goals, so the important thing today was to qualify for the World Championships and have fun.”
Aside from Mokoka, Justine Palframan and Lebo Phalula were the only other athletes to secure gold medals in two individual events.
Palframan grabbed the women’s 200m (23.26) and 400m (53.49) double while Phalula won the 1 500m (4:14.43) and 5 000m (16:19.72) events.
Veteran Chris Harmse made history by winning his 20th consecutive national hammer throw title with a 71.98m heave, and Lebogang Shange coasted to victory in the men’s 20km walk in 1:23:00, clocking the fastest ever time on SA soil.
Teenager Zinzi Chabangu set a new SA junior record in the women’s triple jump, leaping 13.14m to break her own mark by two centimetres.
* Full results are available on our Results page