Manyonga ousts Mokoena | SASCOC - SASCOC

Manyonga ousts Mokoena

By Mark Etheridge

Rising long jump star Luvo Manyonga has leapt his way into the national record books in Germany, soaring past Olympic and World Championships silver medallist Khotso Mokoena’s South African junior record.

Manyonga, 18, who has been campaigning on the European circuit for the last few weeks, soared to a superlative 8.19 metre jump in a meeting in Bottrop. It’s also an African record, beating the 8.12m set by Ignisious Gaisah of Ghana in 2002.

And that was with his third jump of the competition. An ecstatic Mario Smith, who coaches Manyonga at their Stellenbosch University base, said: “A brilliant achievement even if I have to say so myself! His reacton was: ‘I told you Moola, I told you. I’m so happy I can cry’. Anyway we both did!”

Mokoena’s previous junior record was the 8.09m that he set at the World Junior Championships in Grosseto, Italy six years ago.

“It was like a dream come true,” said Manyonga. “Now I just can’t wait for World Juniors.”

“This came a bit earlier as anticipated but it shows in what great form Luvo is in at the moment. I am quite certain that things will just get better in Canada (venue for the world junior track and field championships later this month),” said Smith.

After opening with an 8.09 to equal Mokoena’s junior record, Manyonga went on to jump 8.01, then the momentous 8.19m.

He sat the next attempt out and went on to jump once more, where he reached 8.07. So his form was consistently in excess of 8m which bodes well for the rest of the season.

“The longer approach run that we started working with in training at the Pajulahti Sports Institute in Finland is clearly showing dividends. Our manager Jukka Horkonen ( Finland) is doing a great job in assisting us and helping us with meetings and a comfortable stay with enough training opportunities.

The last word comes from Jukka Harkonen, one of the athletics world’s leading managers. “I have seen many great talented athletes since I started coaching (since 1976). Since 1991 I have been managing┬á great athletes like Frank Fredericks , Marie-Jose Perec, Llewellyn Herbert, Godfrey Mokoena… but dear friends, I am very proud to tell you: Luvo Manyonga will be the next one who has the chances to get the medals in the next┬áfour years in the big championships.”