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Visser’s latest long jump joy dashed by ankle injury
- Updated: July 8, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
Life is full of highs and lows and this week, 2014 Commonwealth silver medallist long jumper Zarck Visser found that out all too well.
Saturday saw one of the high points of his career as the Gauteng athlete soared to a super personal best of 8.41 metres in Germany which puts him third in the world this year, behind only American Jeff Henderson (8.50m).
Fast forward three days though and he was in a doctor’s surgery in Finland where all forms of jumping have been put on hold due to an ankle complication and meaning he won’t be joining Team South Africa at the World Student Games in Gwangju, South Korea where the track and field programme started on Wednesday.
‘The doctors says it’s the ligaments on the outside of my ankle and has given me some medication for the swelling… and they’ll check up once the swelling goes down. He said 10 days of no training depending on the swelling and pain,’ Visser told Road to Rio 2016.
Visser has had a ‘quiet’ season to date with his previous best of the year being the 8.18m he jumped at the altitude venue of Germiston, Gauteng in May.
But the 25-year-old, coached by Emmarie Fouche (who was also part of the Commonwealth coaching set-up for Team SA in Scotland last year) said that was the way it was meant to be. ‘Our plan was never to peak this early in the season… coach just wanted me and Khotso Mokoena [Commonwealth triple jump gold medallist] to keep calm,’ Visser explained. ‘It was going to be a question of competing at the Diamond League in Paris on Saturday but then we opted for Germany. It’s a nice big personal best (PB) for me, as my previous best was two years ago when I jumped 8.32 in Zurich, Switzerland.’
Elaborating more about his new mark in Germany he went on: ‘My first run-up I had to adjust quite a bit, as I said, my ankle has been giving me a few problems and we’ve had to customise my shoe a bit.
‘So I opened with a 7.83m and then my next jump was a 8.40 and that’s when I knew it was coming and then the very next jump there it was. The next jump I slipped on the board so it was a no jump and then I rather sat out the last jump.
Visser was dead keen to make the trip east to South Korea. ‘Last time I was at World Student Games was in 2011 where I came seventh.
‘I was really hoping to be part of that team and win a long jump medal but for now it’s just going to be rest I guess. It’s frustrating because I just want to get back to training. We’re working on the shoes to ease things.’
A measure of Visser’s improvement can be seen that he jumped 7.81 for his seventh spot, after a 7.85 personal best in the qualifying rounds while China’s Su Xiongfeng won the gold medal with an 8.17m.