#TuksAthletics: Manyonga surprises coach with big jump in Brussels

Posted on September 10, 2016

Olympic medallist Luvo Manyonga left his coach at a loss for words last night in Brussels when he jumped 8,48 m to record his first victory in a Diamond League meeting.

According to Neil Cornelius (Tuks/hpc coach), Manyonga's jump initially left him speechless and afterwards he battled to fall asleep because of all the excitement.

Coach and athlete had good reason for their high levels of adrenaline. The 8,48 m jump is the second best attempt in the history of South African long jumping, the first being Khotso Mokoena's South African record of 8,5 m, set in 2009.

Olympic champion Jeff Henderson (USA) is the only athlete who was able to outdo the Tuks/hpc athlete this season, with a best recorded jump of 8,59 m.

It is also interesting to note that Manyonga improved on his best distance by 22 cm this season. Before his comeback at the beginning of the year, his best distance was 8,26 m.

Manyonga was very consistent in Brussels. He started his campaign by jumping 8,24 m, then 8,26 m and 8,28 m, before sky-rocketing to 8,48 m.

Fabrice Lapierre (Australia) was second with a best attempt of 8,17 m and Jarrion Lawson (USA) was third with a jump of 8,04 m. 'I was already excited when Luvo jumped 8,28 m on his second attempt,' said Cornelius. 'To be honest, I never expected him to jump further than 8,40 m. We have hardly been able to do any proper training since he won the silver medal at the Olympic Games in Rio because he has been so busy doing media interviews.'

'Actually, I should not be surprised about what happened in Brussels because I said in a media interview that I am not prepared to make any predictions about how far I think Luvo can jump. If I did that, I might restrict him.'

'I can honestly say that Luvo is not even close to reaching his full potential. It is a given that he will jump further. How much further, I honestly do not know, but I would not be surprised if he became the first athlete to go beyond nine metres.'

'After last night's competition I received a text from Luvo saying that he was surprised at how easy it felt to jump 8,48 m. It felt perfectly normal to him, like an effortless attempt.'

During the Olympic Games Manyonga's technique was described as one of the most natural among all the contestants. Cornelius agrees.

'I have never seen an athlete who is able to execute a take-off so perfectly. It is one of the reasons he is such a competitive athlete. When I work with younger athletes I tell them to watch Manyonga doing his take-off.'

Regarding their plans for next year, Cornelius said they will work towards ensuring that Manyonga gets stronger and faster. There are also a few small hitches in his technique that need to be sorted out.

Just as a matter of interest, the world long jump record was set in 1991 in Tokyo by Mike Powell (USA) with a jump of 8,95 m.


- Author Wilhelm de Swardt

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences