Manyonga jumps his way into history
London - New long jump world champion Luvo Manyonga has made it clear that he wants to dominate the sport.
In fact, every time he is asked about his meteoric rise, he claims – with a smile as wide as the Pacific Ocean – that he was actually born to dominate the world.
Manyonga loves joking around. He possesses an amazing gift of the gab, but, to his credit, he always puts his money where his mouth is.
He puts his jokes aside to focus on the business of long jump.
Fresh from winning his first senior International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) world championship title in his debut at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on day two of the 10-day event that ends tonight, Manyonga said there was no time to reflect on his big achievement as he has set his sights on winning the IAAF Diamond League title.
He clinched a silver medal at the Rio Olympics last year, while African champion Rushwal Samaai helped him rewrite the history books when they became the first two South African athletes to win two medals in the same field event.
Manyonga leapt his way to a gold medal with a jump of 8.48m to grab gold, while Samaai joined him on the podium with a leap of 8.32m that earned him a bronze gong.
“I don’t know why I came here to London in the first place. The organisers should have delivered the gold medal to me in South Africa or brought these guys to jump with me at home,” boasted Manyonga this week.
“This medal was designed and has been waiting for me for far too long. I’m simply the best and will take everything that comes my way, whether they like it or not.”
Manyonga said he wouldn’t rest until he won the Diamond League.
He will compete in the series in Birmingham, England, on August 20. Two more Diamond League series will take place in Zurich, Switzerland, and in Brussels, Belgium.
Manyonga and his coach Neil Cornelius are already hard at work preparing for the upcoming events.
“I want to be the greatest long jumper in the whole world, and nobody will stop me from getting there,” enthused the youngster.
“However, for that to happen, I must not rest.”
The athlete said his focus was on the future and on winning, and that he did not have time to think about his ban for drug-enhancing substances, which prevented him from taking part in what would have been his first World Championships in Beijing, China, two years ago. The ban also prevented him from taking part in the 2012 London Olympics.
“That is in the past; I don’t do the past any more. I have grown past such talk. I only focus on the positives. I have three Diamond League events left and I want to win them all.
“I’m training hard and pushing myself in training. There is no time to celebrate achievements yet.”