Godfrey Khotso Mokoena

Athlete Profile

    South Africa South Africa
    06 MAR 1985
Godfrey Khotso Mokoena  (Getty Images)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
High Jump 2.10 Rustenburg 31 MAR 2001
High Jump 2.10 Debrecen 14 JUL 2001
High Jump 2.10 Germiston 23 MAR 2002
Long Jump 8.50 +1.3 Madrid 04 JUL 2009
Triple Jump 17.35 +0.2 Marrakech (Le Grande Stade) 14 SEP 2014

Personal Best - Indoor

Performance Wind Place Date
Long Jump 8.18 Paris-Bercy (Palais Omnisports) 23 FEB 2007
Triple Jump 16.22 Stockholm 20 FEB 2007

Progression - Outdoor

High Jump

Performance Place Date
2002 2.10 Germiston 23 MAR
2001 2.10 Debrecen 14 JUL
2001 2.10 Rustenburg 31 MAR

Long Jump

Performance Wind Place Date
2017 8.19 +1.0 Weinheim 27 MAY
2015 8.16 -0.3 London (Olympic Stadium) 25 JUL
2015 8.16 +1.0 Rabat (Prince Moulay Abdellah) 14 JUN
2014 8.19 -0.3 Bruxelles (Boudewijnstadion) 05 SEP
2013 8.30 +1.9 Bad Langensalza 15 JUN
2012 8.29 0.0 Pretoria 20 APR
2011 8.25 +0.7 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 08 JUL
2010 8.23 -2.4 Nairobi 29 JUL
2009 8.50 +1.3 Madrid 04 JUL
2008 8.25 +0.8 Stellenbosch 14 MAR
2007 8.34 -0.1 Pretoria 10 MAR
2006 8.39 +1.7 Lapinlahti 16 JUL
2005 8.37 +1.1 Johannesburg 22 APR
2004 8.09 +0.7 Grosseto (Stadio Zecchini) 14 JUL
2003 7.84 Potchefstroom 31 JAN
2002 7.82 0.0 Pretoria 15 JUN

Triple Jump

Performance Wind Place Date
2016 16.77 +1.7 Durban (Kings Park) 25 JUN
2015 16.85 +0.5 Kuortane 08 AUG
2014 17.35 +0.2 Marrakech (Le Grande Stade) 14 SEP
2007 16.75 +0.8 Secunda 26 JAN
2006 16.95 +0.7 Melbourne 25 MAR
2005 17.25 +1.3 Durban 16 APR
2004 16.96 +1.7 Bloemfontein 03 APR
2003 16.28 +0.3 Abuja 11 OCT
2002 16.03 +0.7 Pretoria 14 SEP

Progression - Indoor

Long Jump

Performance Wind Place Date
2017 8.05 Karlsruhe (Messehalle) 04 FEB
2013 8.15 Stockholm 21 FEB
2012 8.04 Moskva 05 FEB
2011 7.91 Stuttgart (Schleyer Halle) 05 FEB
2010 8.08 Doha (Aspire Dome) 13 MAR
2009 7.92 Glasgow (Kelvin Hall) 31 JAN
2008 8.08 Valencia (Velódromo Luis Puig), ESP 08 MAR
2007 8.18 Paris-Bercy (Palais Omnisports) 23 FEB
2006 8.01 Moskva (Olimpiyskiy Stadion) 11 MAR
2005 7.94 Tampere 12 FEB

Triple Jump

Performance Wind Place Date
2007 16.22 Stockholm 20 FEB

Honours - High Jump

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
2nd IAAF/Westel World Youth Championships 5 2.10 Debrecen 14 JUL 2001

Honours - Long Jump

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
15th IAAF World Championships 9q2 7.98 +1.1 Beijing (National Stadium) 24 AUG 2015
14th IAAF World Championships 7 8.10 +0.4 Moskva (Luzhniki) 16 AUG 2013
The XXX Olympic Games 8 7.93 -2.3 London (Olympic Stadium) 04 AUG 2012
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 9q1 8.00 -0.2 Daegu (DS) 01 SEP 2011
13th IAAF World Indoor Championships 2 8.08 Doha (Aspire Dome) 13 MAR 2010
IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final 3 8.17 +0.2 Thessaloníki 13 SEP 2009
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 2 8.47 +0.1 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 22 AUG 2009
The XXIX Olympic Games 2 8.24 0.0 Beijing (National Stadium) 18 AUG 2008
12th IAAF World Indoor Championships 1 8.08 Valencia (Velódromo Luis Puig), ESP 08 MAR 2008
5th IAAF World Athletics Final 3 8.12 +0.1 Stuttgart (Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion) 23 SEP 2007
11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 5 8.19 -0.1 Osaka (Nagai Stadium) 30 AUG 2007
11th IAAF World Indoor Championships 5 8.01 Moskva (Olimpiyskiy Stadion) 11 MAR 2006
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 7 8.11 +2.6 Helsinki (Olympic Stadium) 13 AUG 2005
10th IAAF World Junior Championships 2 8.09 +0.7 Grosseto (Stadio Zecchini) 14 JUL 2004
IAAF/Coca Cola World Junior Championships 12 7.08 -0.7 Kingston (NS), JAM 18 JUL 2002

Honours - Triple Jump

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXXI Olympic Games 10q2 16.51 +0.2 Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico) 15 AUG 2016
15th IAAF World Championships 9 16.81 +0.3 Beijing (National Stadium) 27 AUG 2015
2nd IAAF Continental Cup 2014 2 17.35 +0.2 Marrakech (Le Grande Stade) 14 SEP 2014
28th Olympic Games 14q2 16.32 -0.2 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 20 AUG 2004
10th IAAF World Junior Championships 1 16.77 -0.3 Grosseto (Stadio Zecchini) 18 JUL 2004

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Updated 24 July 2009

Khotso Godfrey MOKOENA, South Africa (Long Jump/Triple Jump)
Born 6 March 1985, Ratanda, Heidelberg (60km east of Johannesburg) 
1.90m / 72kg
The first of 2 children (he has a younger sister)
Based in Pretoria and registered with Athletics Gauteng North 

A meeting in Helsinki with his idol, Mike Powell, the Long Jump World record holder, provided an unforgettable moment to be cherished for the rest of his life for South Africa’s record breaking horizontal jumper, Khotso Godfrey Mokoena. But such is Mokoena’s ambition that he hopes one day to exceed the 8.95 Powell jumped at the 1991 Tokyo World Championships and become World record holder himself.

Yet it was as a triple jumper that Mokoena made his first big global impression, winning the World Junior title in Grosseto, Italy, in 2004. At the same championships, he took the silver medal in the Long Jump behind Italy’s future (2007) senior World runner-up Andrew Howe.

Growing up in Ratanda, after casual participation in football and basketball, Mokoena had his initial contact with athletics at age of 13. And it was while he was at the nearby Nigel High School that his exceptional talent was spotted and developed by a female teacher and coach, Elna de Beer.

Mokoena started his international career as a high jumper at the 2001 World Youth Championships (7th, 2.10). Then, switching events, he qualified for the Long Jump Final at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica (7.47q, 7.08 for 12th in Final) and took up the Triple Jump in September, recording a national youth and junior record (16.03) just five days after having first attempted it in training.

Between 2002 and 2006, Mokoena rewrote the South African record book with new youth, junior and senior records in both horizontal jumps. In 2003 he doubled at the All Africa Games, in Abuja, Nigeria, winning two medals. He took the silver in the Triple Jump, with a PB 16.28m, and bronze in the Long Jump with a low-altitude PB 7.83. He went from there to the inaugural Afro-Asian Games, in Hyderabad, India, two weeks later and collected two more medals, both bronze, with less distinguished performances (7.76 /15.92).

In the 2004 World Junior Championships, Mokoena’s gold was achieved with 16.77 (low-altitude PB) and his silver in the Long Jump with a PB and South African junior record 8.09. At the Athens Olympics, contesting only the Triple Jump, he failed to reach the Final.

In 2005 Mokoena long jumped better than 8 metres on nine occasions, including an 8.37 altitude PB at the national university championships and a windy 8.11 for 7th at the World Championships in Helsinki (he did not contest the Triple Jump). In the Triple Jump he set a national record 17.25 at the SA Championships in Durban.

In 2006, Mokoena’s highlights included the new national Long Jump record of 8.39, set in Lapinlahti, Finland, as well as Triple Jump silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne (16.95) and the African Championships in Mauritius (16.67w). 

After changing his technique, Mokoena decided to concentrate mainly on the Long Jump leading up to 2008. He started 2007 with a few outstanding indoor victories – 8.18 in Paris and 8.13 in Birmingham – before winning in Pretoria (8.34), Osaka (8.18w) and Dakar (8.32w).  At the All Africa Games, in Algiers in July, he struggled with his run-up and had to settle for third.   

As a student in Potchefstroom, he came into frequent contact with some of the world’s athletics stars, many of whom – especially Europeans – used the town for training. He attended North-West University, Potchefstroom, but lost interest and concentrated more on athletics, returning during 2007 to the Johannesburg area. He is now based in Pretoria.

Owen van Niekerk had taken over from De Beer as Mokoena’s coach when it proved difficult for De Beer to continue because she was at Nigel and he was at Potchefstroom, 150k apart. Van Niekerk was adamant that Mokoena had the talent to become the world’s best long jumper.

Some observers questioned whether the athlete should continue to compete in both jumps and Mokoena said: “At this stage I feel pretty confident that I can do both quite successfully. But it is not easy and is becoming more difficult as time progresses.” And, as he concentrated on the Long Jump leading up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he has not competed in Triple Jump since February 2007.

Although enjoying reasonable success, 2007 was not Mokoena’s best year. He did impressively well in the qualifying rounds of the All Africa Games, in Algiers, and the World Championships, in Osaka, but he failed to build on it and had to settle for third and fifth place in the Finals. However, his year best of 8.34 was 5th best in the world. He also set a new national indoor record of 8.18 in Paris for his only international victory of the year.

Late in 2007 Mokoena parted with van Niekerk and, after a brief spell with his Finnish manager, joined forces with Angus Pohl as new coach. But they parted, too, less than two months before Beijing.               

Mokoena started 2008 well by winning the World Indoor title in Valencia but, at the National Championships a week later in Stellenbosch, he most unexpectedly lost his national crown to Keenan Watson (20) who exceeded himself with a wind-assisted 8.26. It was Watson’s first ever jump beyond 8 metres and 1cm better than Mokoena’s legal 8.25.

Starting the European season on a high note with a windy 8.35 victory in Hengelo, since then Mokoena was consistent between 8.00 and 8.20 with good placings (2nd, 3rd twice 5th) in Golden League meetings, making him positive about his visit to Beijing. “I am ready and looking forward to it, although I know that my first and most important task is to get into the Final,” he said, adding that he had never been so excited about a major event. 

And Mokena certainly rose to the occasion, claiming silver behind Panama’s Irving Saladino with 8.24. Although coaching uncertainty played a major role at the time, a cool head enabled him to rise above it all to such an extent that he became his country’s sole medal winner in China. 

Afterwards he sat down with a panel of coaching experts, including his original coach, Elna de Beer, and managed to get his career on course again.

With his visit to the Beijing Olympics still fresh in mind, he took Europe by storm in 2009 with more confidence than ever in his career. After jumping 8.33m at three consecutive meetings in Europe and sending out signals that his own national record of 8.39 was in danger, he arrived in Spain. His visit to Madrid on 4 July 2009 would prove to be one of his highlights. The result, although he did not win, was super special because his 8.50m also eclipsed the African record held by Cheikh Toure of Senegal since 1997, by 4 cm.

On the eve of Berlin Mokoena has reason to approach the global championships with more confidence than before.             

With his determination and capacity to remain cool in difficult circumstances, it is little wonder that Mokoena is proving popular as a motivational speaker. Although only 24, already he has addressed teachers and children at various schools. From his early earnings in athletics, he has bought a laptop computer that he uses during lectures. Away from the track and speaking-room, Mokoena likes to spend his time reading and listening to gospel music.

Personal Bests
Long Jump: 8.50 (2009)/8.18i (2007)
Triple Jump: 17.25 (2005)

Yearly Progression
Long Jump/Triple Jump: 2000: 6.66m / --; 2001: 7.17 / --; 2002: 7.82/ 16.03; 2003: 7.84 /16.28; 2004: 8.09 /16.96; 2005: 8.37/17.25; 2006: 8.39/16.95; 2007: 8.34/16.75; 2008: 8.25 (8.35w)/---;   2009:  8.50m.

Career Highlights
2001       5th    World Youth Championships (High Jump)
2002    12th     World Junior Championships (Long Jump)
2003      2nd     All Africa Games (Triple Jump)
2003      3rd     All Africa Games (Long Jump)
2003      3rd     Afro-Asian Games (Long Jump)
2003      3rd     Afro-Asian Games (Triple Jump)
2004      1st     World Junior Championships (Triple Jump)
2004      2nd     World Junior Championships (Long Jump)
2004      14qB    Olympic Games (Triple Jump)
2005      7th     World Championships (Long Jump)
2006      2nd     Commonwealth Games (Triple Jump)
2006      4th     Commonwealth Games (Long Jump)
2006      5th     World Indoor Championships (Long Jump)
2006      2nd     African Championships (Long Jump)
2007      3rd     All Africa Games (Long Jump)
2007      5th     World Championships (Long Jump)
2007      3rd     World Athletics Final (Long Jump)
2008      1st      World Indoor Championships (Long Jump)
2008      2nd     Olympic Games (Long Jump)

Prepared by Gert le Roux for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright  IAAF 2006-2009.