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Mokoka sub 28 in 10 000m

Mokoka – 5th fastest ever South African in 10 000m

Mokoka sub 28 in 10000m

Mokoka sub 28 in 10000m

He has been threatening a sub 28min 10 000m for some time now.And finally, in perfect conditions, Steven Mokoka at the Yellow Pages SA Student Championships in Stellenbosch on 29 April was timed at 27min56,18sec to set an IAAF B-Qualifier for the World Champions and dip under 28 minutes.

The time elevated him to 5th best ever on the All Time SA Lists. Only Hendrik Ramaala, Xolile Yawa, Shadrack Hoff and Matthews ‘Loop en Val’ Motshawarateu have bettered his time.

At the Yellow Pages SA Senior Championships in Durban on Sunday 10 April he ran a solo effort of 28:06;65. It was a massive personal best (13sec) but not good enough for a World Championship Qualifier – the IAAF B-Qualifier is exactly 28 minutes.

Setting off at a more sedate pace at the Student Championships than the SA Senior Championships, Mokoka of Tshwane University of Technology and team mate Gladwin Mzazi moved away from the field within the first 7 laps of the 25 lap race. Only Gert Manora was able to go with the duo. Halfway was covered in 14:08 with the trio sharing the work. Gradually Mokoka upped the pace and Manora started to fall off. With 600m left even the resilient Mzazi had to give way to the relentless pace poured on by Mokoka, and when the national champion got the bell the clock read exactly 27minutes. What followed was a sight for sore eyes as Mokoka blitzed a 56sec last lap and looked comfortable doing it. When he crossed the line the clock read 27:56;18 – the 5th fastest time ever in South Africa, and the fastest in 12 years.

“We went out to fast at SA’s. The first kilometer was done in 2:37 which cost us. Our Coach (Michael Seme) was very upset with us and this time we stuck to 66, 67sec laps so we had something left in the second half of the race,” said a grinning Mokoka afterwards. “I know we can go faster.” Mokoka has set a World Championship B-Qualifier and will now go back to “winter work”, as “it has been a long track season already, I have raced now solidly for four months. It is time to put something back into the tank.”

In addition to a full track season, Mokoka also ran at the Africa Cross Country Championships (6 March), the World Cross Country Championships (19 March), where he finished 15th for the joint best ever performance by a South Africa; and on Saturday he finished second in a half marathon China clocking 61:42.

Mzazi lost pace with the phenomenal Mokoka in the last 600m but was able to run a massive Personal Best of 28:09;33 – shaving 11second off his previous best of 28:20;40. Both Mokoka and Mzazi have booked their places on the Team that will compete at the World Student Championships in Shenzen, China from 12 to 23 August.

Caster Semenya won the 1500m woman race with ease, completely controlling proceedings from the gun and won her first of – potentially four titles – in 4:22;64.The close finish times between first, second and third are deceptive, as Semenya was never under threat. Later in the afternoon she made it two from two with a win in the 400m, defeating the specialist 400m hurdler Wenda Theron. Semenya raced to perfection after Theron set the early pace, leading through 200m. In the final 120m Semeya surged, and although Theron tried valiantly to hold on, Semenya won her second gold medal that the Student Championships in 53.18sec.

Pharson Magagane stole a march on a competitive field in the men’s 1500m when he surged ahead halfway through the second lap. Magagane opened a gap of around 20m on a pack that included a resurgent Andre Olivier, Tshamano Setone and Molefe Molefe. The pack thought that Magagane would come back to them, instead the man who earlier this year recorded an exact 4min mile, stayed ahead and won in 3:44;95.

Simon Magakwe is fast becoming the king of sprinting. Earlier this year he became only the second athlete to ever win three SA Sprint (100m) titles in row, he now has also won the last two 100m sprints at the Student Championships.

Zark Visser came out trumps in the battle of the long jumpers with a final leap of 7.85m.

Selected results

Men 10 000m

1. Stephen Mokoka (TUT)                             27:56;18 (PB)
2. Gladwin Mzazi (TUT)                                 28:09;33 (PB)
3. Gert Manora (PUK)                                   28:49;22

Women 1500m

1. Caster Semenya (TUKS)                           4.22;64
2. Mandie Brandt (UJ)                                  4.22;79
3. Maxine Heine-Wacker (UJ)                                4.22;99

Men 1500m

1. Pharson Magagane (UJ)                            3.44;95
2. Andre Olivier (PUK)                                  3.45;92
3. Jerry Motsau (PUK)                                  3.45;97

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