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Luvo’s long awaited campaign starts next month
- Updated: May 20, 2016
Long jumper Luvo Manyonga (Tuks) will start his international campaign in Rome on 2 June.
The reason for his brief disappearance ‘under the radar’ after the South African Championships in Stellenbosch was an injured right ankle.
Neil Cornelius, his coach at Tuks, explained: ‘It was nothing serious but seeing that it is an Olympic year we did not want to risk aggravating the injury. So we opted for Luvo to rather go for rehabilitation at the High Performance Centre (HPC).
‘He started training on Monday and I can honestly say that, as his coach, I am excited. Luvo is definitely focused and in the right mindset. You can say that he is man on a mission. His ankle injury seems to be something of the past.’
Surprisingly, Manyonga’s only legal jump at the South African Championships in Stellenbosch was 6.70 metres, which meant that he did not qualify for the final three jumps of the competition.
Two of his attempts were no-jumps. There were people who thought he was over confident or even clowning around when he went for his third jump.
Cornelius said: ‘This was certainly not the case. What the spectators did not realise was that Luvo sustained his injury with his second attempt. Being his coach I knew he was going to battle with his third jump. If he had jumped farther and remained in the competition there was a good chance that he still would have withdrawn because of the Olympics.
‘The Games in Rio are all that matters to Luvo at the moment. Everything we do from now on will be to ensure that he qualifies for the final.’
Cornelius said they are still waiting for the final confirmation, but there is a good chance that Manyonga will compete at the Diamond League Meeting in Birmingham as well (5 June).
Earlier this season Manyonga proved that he has a realistic chance of qualifying for the Olympic final.
In his first competition, which was a league meeting at Pilditch, he jumped 8.20m and at the Gauteng North Championships he went even further, jumping 8.30m.
This performance by the former junior world long jump champion, who trains at the HPC, is even more remarkable considering that the league meeting at Pilditch was the first time in more than a year that he competed officially. He qualified for the Games with his very first jump.
After his 8.30m jump he said: ‘I won’t say it was easy, but it felt good. The reason why I am able to consistently have good jumps is that I believe in my own ability and I am not obsessed about distance. I just jump because I enjoy doing so. All that matters is to make sure that my technique is faultless when I compete. If I can get that right, the big jumps will happen.’
Judging by what has been happening at the Olympic Games in the long jump since 1996, it seems as if Manyonga will have a realistic chance to medal at the Games in Rio. Providing of course that stays focused.
Picture courtesy of Reg Caldecott