It would seem that whoever beats South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga at the Fanny Blankers Koen Games in Hengelo on Sunday is going to win the long jump.


It certainly is no easy challenge as the Tuks athlete is in awesome form. He won his last three competitions by jumping 8.62, 8.65 and 8.61 metres. Before Manyonga’s ‘heroics’ the last time any athlete managed to get past the 8.60m marker was in 2009 when Dwight Phillips jumped 8.74m and Irving Saladino jumped 8.63m.

Manyonga makes no secret about the fact that his ultimate goal is to improve on Mike Powell’s world record. The American jumped 8.95m in 1991, the year Manyonga was born.

Neil Cornelius (Tuks coach) just smiled when asked as to what he think might happen in Hengelo. ‘I don’t want to commit to any specific distance. All I’m prepared to say is that Luvo has had a good three weeks of training, so would advise everyone who is passionate about athletics to find a way to try and watch him compete on Sunday. If they don’t they might regret it.’

Cornelius hinted that another distance of 8.60m and further is definitely on the cards.

Manyonga managed to totally surprise Cornelius over the weekend when he decided at the spur of the moment to compete in a 100-metre race at a league meeting at Tuks. He clocked a time 10.39s.

‘I was actually shocked. The last thing I expected to see was Luvo come “flying” down the track especially since we had put in a hard training session in the morning. Luvo ran with his long jump spikes and with 15 metres to go, he deliberately started to slow down and started to smile as he looked around at the other athletes.

‘I didn’t know whether I should be angry or proud. The fact that he was able to run 10.39 on a spur of the moment decision proves that he is in really good form but in doing so he risked getting injured.’

Cornelius is of the opinion that if Manyonga puts his mind to it he could run a time close to 10.10. ‘People tend to forget that of the seven seconds it takes Luvo to jump he spend five seconds sprinting flat-out. So he has got the speed it is just a question of a doing a bit of fine tuning.’

South Africa’s Ruswahl Samaai is another athlete that could cause a surprise on Sunday. The 8.49m he jumped at the national championships in Potchefstroom would have been good enough at most meetings to take the victory. Manyonga is the only athlete so far that can boast with better distances.

Samaai has proved that he could rise to the occasion.

Australia’s Fabrice Lapierre (8.40m) and the Netherland’s Ignisious Gaisah (8.43m) who are both former World Championships medallists also ought to be in the mix as should South Africa’s Zarck Visser whose personal best is 8.41m.

Antonio Alkana who raced to a new South African 110m-hurdles record of 13.11sec in Prague on Monday is also competing in Hengelo as well as Carina Horn. It will only be the second time this season that Horn will be competing in a 100m race.

Sunette Viljoen and Jo-Ané van Dyk will both be competing in the javelin competition.

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