Event: Women’s Long Distances Date of birth: 1985/04/09 Personal bests: 800m (2:03.36),...
MOKOKA, ENGELBRECHT WIN GOLD ON DAY ONE
The SA team got their campaign off to a great start on Wednesday, earning two gold medals on the opening day of the African Senior Championships in Durban.
Stephen Mokoka outclassed the powerhouse distance running nations from East Africa to win the men’s 10 000m title in 28:02.97 after using his trademark kick to reach the top step of the podium.
Kenyan athlete Wilfred Kimitei was edged into second place, crossing the line in 28:03.18.
“The (erratic) pace caught me off guard but I’m very happy that I managed to win, especially at home against the Kenyans and Ethiopians,” Mokoka said.
Gladwin Mzazi, the only other SA athlete in the race, took 10th position in 28:24.50.
Meanwhile, Jaco Engelbrecht produced a 20.00m heave to win the men’s shot put final.
Franck Elemba took second place with a 19.89m effort, with South Africa’s defending champion, Orazio Cremona, settling for fifth place with a best attempt of 19.15m.
“I’ve dubbed myself ‘Mr Silver’… so I had to show some big match temperament,” Engelbrecht said.
“I got a season’s best and it’s nice to beat that distance.”
In the women’s hammer throw final, African record holder Amy Sene of Senegal won with a 68.35m effort.
Teenage athlete Marga Cumming was the best SA performer, ending seventh with a 55.48m heave, while Chene Coetzee was ninth with a 50.46m attempt.
Meanwhile, in preliminary rounds of other disciplines, the nation’s fastest athletes held their own against the continent’s best in the men’s and women’s 100m dash.
Akani Simbine (10.25), Thando Roto (10.28) and Gift Leotlela (10.29) all did enough in their semifinals to progress to the men’s final on Thursday, while Carina Horn (11.14) and Tebogo Mamathu (11.58) booked their places in the women’s medal contest.
Jacob Rozani (1:49.91), Kabelo Mohlosi (1:49.94) and Rynardt van Rensburg (2:02.81) progressed to the men’s 800m final, while Maryke Brits (13.52), Claudia Heunis (13.58) and Taylon Bieldt (13.71) reached the women’s 100m hurdles final.