Did you know?
The 1,9m-tall Godfrey Khotso Mokoena is known by his old schoolmates as the ‘G-Man’.
He manages a youth motivation project in his home town, wears trademark crocodile skin gloves and is Africa’s king of the long- and triple-jump events. In fact, this amazing athlete actually began with early wins in the high jump arena.
That’s Godfrey Khotso Mokoena from the town of Heidelberg in the Gauteng province.
Born in 1985, he showed an early talent for high jump. But it was not until his high school years that he began to shine in the long jump pit as well, and was spurred on to greater things by teacher Elna de Beer. At 17, he entered the World Junior Championships in Jamaica and finished in a creditable 12th spot.
A few months later, Mokoena decided to try the triple jump event. After five days of training, he smashed the South African junior triple jump record. Only two years later, Godfrey Mokoena won the triple jump event at the World Junior Championships in Italy.
By 2006. Godfrey had been winning awards in both events in competitions all over the world. This included successes at the World Indoor Championships in Moscow and at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, UK.
The highlight of his career so far was still to come. Mokoena had his sights set on the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. He made subtle but effective changes to his long jump technique at least a year before the Games and then in March of 2008 he won the gold medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Spain.
When it was time to pack for Beijing, Godfrey Mokoena was ready. He returned with a silver medal for the long jump event – the South African medal winner at these Games.
In the following four years leading up to the London Olympics, Godfrey Mokoena won a gold medal at the 2010 World Championships in Spain and repeated his win at the African Championships later that year.
He also started the I Motivate You project in Heidelberg, aimed at empowering the local youth groups. He told the media: “I have been blessed with a special talent to jump, and I am using that to touch the lives of other people.”
The London Games proved to be a rare disappointment for Mokoena. He finished in eighth place in the long jump final.
“These were not my Games,” he said afterwards. “But they were also not my last…”
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Godfrey Khotso Mokoena
c/o The Newton Agency
Tel: +27 (0) 32 586 0249