Samaai believes he'll one day grab spotlight from more illustrious rival Manyonga

10 May 2018 - 09:48 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
2018 Commonwealth Games long jump bronze medalist Ruswahl Samaai says he will one day like to get to the highs reached by Luvo Manyonga.
2018 Commonwealth Games long jump bronze medalist Ruswahl Samaai says he will one day like to get to the highs reached by Luvo Manyonga.
Image: Mahlatse Mphahlele

Ruswahl Samaai may live in the shadow of his more established compatriot Luvo Manyonga in the long jump on the international scene but he believes that his time to take centre stage is fast approaching.

Samaai settled for a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games last month with Manyonga grabbing the headlines by claiming gold following an impressive leap of 8.41 ahead Henry Frayne of Australia who finished second.

It was the same story at the World Championships in London last year where Manyonga took gold and the 27-year old Samaai finished third with Jarrion Lawson of the US coming between them in second position.

“We talk about a lot of things and I believe that our competition is very healthy‚” he said.

“I remember during the Commonwealth Games‚ he will come to me and say 'please help me with this and that'.

"People think it is just about competing but we also help each other even though we are in competition.”

Samaai said he has taken a lot of inspiration from Manyonga’s achievements and he is motivated to continue working hard to become the best in the business.

“It is good having a world champion in South Africa because it motivates me to become number one and I am heading there‚" he said.

"I have a lot of respect for Luvo but at the same time I don’t focus too much on him but on what I want to achieve.

“I always have a plan with my coach‚ we know where we want to go and what we want to do.

"With performances‚ everything is going to come and my mind is not focusing on beating Luvo or others in the world.

"It is about me trying to improve every single meeting.

"I am trying to improve and be the best that I can be‚ my time will come and I want to do that at a major championship.”

To be able to get to the top and possibly beat Manyonga‚ Samaai said he needs to be consistent in the coming three years which is a period that covers two World Championships and the Olympics.

“The upcoming three years are going to be important for me because we have the World Champs next year in Doha‚ Olympics in 2020 in Beijing and the World Champs again in 2021 in Eugene in the US‚" he said.

"I have to be careful on how I manage certain things heading in that direction."

Over the next four months‚ Samaai will be based in Italy as he will be competing in the Diamond League and he is looking forward to the challenge.

“I am going to be based in Italy and I leave on May 26 and return back sometime in September‚" he said.

"My first Diamond League is in Rome at the end of the month and there are other meets that have been confirmed for me outside the Diamond League.”


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