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Longjumper Lynique lays down her marker for Rio 2016
- Updated: May 2, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
She’s been battling a back injury for three long years but finally long jumper Lynique Prinsloo is back… with an Olympic sized bang!
Competing at the South African student championships in Limpopo this weekend, the 25-year-old soared to a winning effort to better the Olympic qualifying standard of 6.70m by a full eight centimetres.
It’s been an uphill struggle for the blonde University of Johannesburg student who has had to put much of her life on the back burner as she looked for answers.
Like athletes around the globe, sacrifice has become her second name as she went in search of her Olympic dream.
She told Road to Rio 2016: ‘Yes, I’ve had to give up a lot… I had to move from Pretoria to Johannesburg meaning I had to be away from my fiancé [400m hurdler PC Beneke], my pet Yorkie dog, Franky and my family as well.
‘It was a huge decision to make but they’ve been so full of support and it was also difficult for them.’
Her journey across the Jukskei River saw her hooking up with renowned long jump coach Emmarie Fouche at the University of Johannesburg. ‘I’ve been there since October last year and know that this wonderful person can help me reach me Olympic goal.’
Of course there was also back-up from bio-kineticist Waldo van Heerden whose intensive rehabilitation efforts has seen the old Lynique Prinsloo return.
‘At UJ they also try to ensure that an athlete has a future after sport so I’m currently studying teaching with my main subjects being psychology and life orientation. I’m enjoying the psychology enormously as well as studies in general. With all the travel involved with being an athlete it was always so difficult but here it’s really made easy.’
When everything’s done and dusted she’s looking to go further as an educational psychologist at school level.
Moving back from studies to the sand pit, she says her and coach Fouche knew ‘that’ jump was going to come sooner, just a matter of time.
‘After the difficult times where my coach has supported me so much, this time we finally reached our goals. Her favourite, and often-repeated words were “trust the process, trust the process!’
Talking about her actual leaps in Limpopo, she says: ‘The wind played around with our first three jumps. On my second jump I opened with a 6.61 and then my fourth was a 6.48 but I got too much height. The fifth was a no-jump and then the last jump I came up with that 6.78. A person can feel a good jump.. It felt like I was flying through the air for longer than usual. Technically it’s not completely right yet. It was one of the better ones though and I feel I can definitely go much further, technically speaking.’
Although very excited she’s still quick to give thanks where it counts.
‘I have to give the greatest honour to my God. He gave me these wonderful talent and I’m enjoyed using every bit of talent given by him. Like I say, trust God in every step and process!
‘In times like these when athletes get so little external support your own support group is very important. Every small detail makes a difference. Like the perfect coach and your agent that cares for you and supports you to take the stress off you so that you can just climb aboard an aeroplane and you know everything will be perfectly organised.
‘And lets not forget the clothing and equipment sponsors, in my case Nike.’
Next up is letting this Olympic size moment sink in. ‘For now we’ve reached our goal and we can relax a bit. Then later this month we have a few overseas meeting and then African Championships in June… and then hopefully the big one in August.’
As for coach Fouche … she’s just as satisfied: ‘Lynique is a true fighter. She’s determined and committed. It’s really so easy to coach her.
‘She’s a lovely person and very receptive to all my advice. She’s got so much talent and now our next target will be the SA record.’
Pictures of Prinsloo doing what she does best, courtesy of ROGER SEDRES/ImageSA