Manyonga jumps his way into his­tory

CityPress - - Sport - CHARLES BALOYI in London sports@city­press.co.za

New long jump world cham­pion Luvo Manyonga has made it clear that he wants to dom­i­nate the sport.

In fact, ev­ery time he is asked about his me­te­oric rise, he claims – with a smile as wide as the Pa­cific Ocean – that he was ac­tu­ally born to dom­i­nate the world.

Manyonga loves jok­ing around. He pos­sesses an amaz­ing gift of the gab, but, to his credit, he al­ways puts his money where his mouth is.

He puts his jokes aside to fo­cus on the busi­ness of long jump.

Fresh from win­ning his first se­nior In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Athletics Fed­er­a­tions (IAAF) world cham­pi­onship ti­tle in his de­but at the Queen El­iz­a­beth Olympic Park on day two of the 10-day event that ends tonight, Manyonga said there was no time to re­flect on his big achieve­ment as he has set his sights on win­ning the IAAF Di­a­mond League ti­tle.

He clinched a sil­ver medal at the Rio Olympics last year, while African cham­pion Rush­wal Sa­maai helped him re­write the his­tory books when they be­came the first two South African ath­letes to win two medals in the same field event.

Manyonga leapt his way to a gold medal with a jump of 8.48m to grab gold, while Sa­maai joined him on the podium with a leap of 8.32m that earned him a bronze gong.

“I don’t know why I came here to London in the first place. The or­gan­is­ers should have de­liv­ered the gold medal to me in South Africa or brought th­ese guys to jump with me at home,” boasted Manyonga this week.

“This medal was de­signed and has been wait­ing for me for far too long. I’m sim­ply the best and will take ev­ery­thing that comes my way, whether they like it or not.”

Manyonga said he wouldn’t rest until he won the Di­a­mond League.

He will com­pete in the se­ries in Birm­ing­ham, Eng­land, on Au­gust 20. Two more Di­a­mond League se­ries will take place in Zurich, Switzer­land, and in Brussels, Belgium.

Manyonga and his coach Neil Cor­nelius are al­ready hard at work pre­par­ing for the up­com­ing events.

“I want to be the great­est long jumper in the whole world, and no­body will stop me from get­ting there,” en­thused the young­ster.

“How­ever, for that to hap­pen, I must not rest.”

The ath­lete said his fo­cus was on the fu­ture and on win­ning, and that he did not have time to think about his ban for drug-en­hanc­ing sub­stances, which pre­vented him from tak­ing part in what would have been his first World Championships in Beijing, China, two years ago. The ban also pre­vented him from tak­ing part in the 2012 London Olympics.

“That is in the past; I don’t do the past any more. I have grown past such talk. I only fo­cus on the pos­i­tives. I have three Di­a­mond League events left and I want to win them all.

“I’m train­ing hard and push­ing my­self in train­ing. There is no time to cel­e­brate achieve­ments yet.”

PHOTO: MICHAEL STEELE / GETTY IM­AGES

LEAP OF FAITH Af­ter win­ning a gold medal in London this week, long jumper Luvo Manyonga is con­fi­dent that he is just be­gin­ning his as­cent to the top

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