#TuksAthletics: Jovan van Vuuren's dream to defend his title ended with a hamstring injury

Posted on March 11, 2023

The South African long jump champion and 2022 Commonwealth Games medallist, Jovan van Vuuren's 2023 campaign, has ended without a proper lift-off. 

Early into the new season, the Tuks athlete sustained a slight tear in his hamstring. He was sidelined for about two weeks. It did not faze him.

"It is a long season. Missing a week or two's training is not a big deal. The plan is to peak at the South African Champs in Potchefstroom. I am hoping to get an opportunity to compete internationally. The experience could have I gained would undoubtedly have stood me in good stead by the time I got to compete at the World Champs," Van Vuuren said at the time. 

Sports can be cruel at times. A few days ago, Van Vuuren got injured again. This time around, his doctor had no good news. His hamstring injury had aggravated to such an extent that he won't be able to compete for a few months. If he does not abide by the doctor's orders, there is a real chance he won't compete this season. 

"According to the doctor, I possibly injured my takeoff leg by overstriding when going for the jump. It is not something that just happened now. It has been a long time wear and tear scenario on my hamstring."

"I nearly fainted when the doctor told me I couldn't compete. Sadly, it has to happen now. I really hoped to make the A-final at the World Championships. I know I will be back, but it will take time. Most importantly is that I should keep hope.

"Luckily, my strength and conditioning coach, Niel du Plessis, does not believe in giving up. He already has a plan to get me 'flying and landing' going for big distances. My rehabilitation starts tomorrow morning. In the afternoons, I will be in the gym cycling. The aim of doing so is to improve the blood circulation in my leg. 

"I will also go for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. It will be costly. At a rough estimate, it could amount to R60 000, but I owe myself to do so. You can't put a monetary cap on your dreams, especially as an athlete," said Van Vuuren, who ended last year being the 17th-best long jumper in the world. 

Since 2018, Van Vuuren has improved his best performance by 61 centimetres-7.55 metres to 8.16 metres in 2022. The Tuks athlete won a bronze medal in the men’s long jump final at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in England.

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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