SA's long-jump medallists Manyonga and Samaai promise more

06 August 2017 - 10:19 By David Isaacson
Luvo Manyonga of South Africa celebrates winning the final of the Mens Long Jump during day 2 of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships 2017 at The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on August 05, 2017 in London, England.
Luvo Manyonga of South Africa celebrates winning the final of the Mens Long Jump during day 2 of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships 2017 at The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on August 05, 2017 in London, England.
Image: Roger Sedres/ImageSA/Gallo Images

Long-jump medallists Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai took gold and bronze at the world championships in London on Saturday and then promised there would be plenty more to come.

“This is not the end‚” said Manyonga‚ who won with his second leap of 8.48m‚ 4cm ahead of American Jarrion Lawson. Samaai was third on 8.32m.

“We’re still going to show the world what South Africa is made of.”

Samaai echoed the sentiment. “This is the beginning of something great. Let’s just hope this can carry us forward.”

For Manyonga‚ this sweet victory eradicated the bitterness of the Rio Olympics where he lost the gold medal by 1cm in the final round.

“I do not feel like thinking about the last attempt in 2016‚ this brings back bad memories.

“It does not matter anymore because I have the gold medal now‚” said Manyonga‚ the 2010 world under-20 champion.

“I feel awesome. It’s a great feeling to be a world champion.”

Manyonga again said he was eyeing the 8.95 world record held by Mike Powell since 1991.

“The world record is my next goal. Ruswahl and me are pushing each other through events. I am the best in the world — this sounds great‚” the beaming Manyonga said.

For Samaai this performance helped ease bad memories of the past two years. He finished ninth at the Rio Games while struggling with an injury‚ and he failed to qualify for the final at the last world championships in Beijing two years ago.

“I have been waiting for this medal‚” said Samaai‚ the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist.

“I have been training hard for this moment just to get a bronze medal. It has really been a roller coaster the past two years.

“But I just told myself to stay injury free and I am gonna get a medal.”

Manyonga and Samaai‚ who both come from Paarl in the Western Cape‚ had entered the championships as the top two seeds with Lawson ranked third.

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