Chris Moleya, 21, of the University of Pretoria, will be competing in the African Senior Athletics Championships in Nigeria this week.
Chris Moleya, 21, of the University of Pretoria, will be competing in the African Senior Athletics Championships in Nigeria this week.

Nigeria could herald ‘arrival’ of Moleya on world stage

By ANA Time of article published Aug 1, 2018

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THE African Senior Athletics Championships which starts in Nigeria today and run until August 5 may just be the stepping stone Chris Moleya needs to alert the world to his world-class high jump ability.

Moleya, a 21-year-old University of Pretoria student, recently claimed fourth position in the IAAF World Cup in London and then finished third, jumping 2.26m in Madrid.

The Senior Athletics Championship will take place in Asaba, Delta State, and Moleya is hopeful of winning a gold medal.

Moleya has been in the spotlight for a few years.

In 2015 as an 18-year-old he competed at the All-Africa Games and won a bronze medal. This proves that he is not intimidated when he competes internationally.

The season's statistics certainly favour Moleya to be a medal contender during the African Championships.

Only Kenya’s Mathew Sawe, who jumped 2.30m, can boast a better performance.

The one thing that might count against the Tuks athlete is being involved in an unexpected “marathon”. By Monday he and his South African teammates had travelled for 55 hours to get to Asaba.

One can just hope they will have recovered by today when they start to compete.

If fully rested Moleya is confident of jumping 2.30m.

“My coach, Hugo Badenhorst, keeps on telling me that I have real talent and that I should make the most of it. I know there is a big jump that is just waiting to happen. When it is, I don't know. I just need to keep on being positive.

“On a good day, I might even jump 2.35m. But then again I don't want to get obsessed about jumping a specific height.”

Tuks star Moleya grew up in Zebediela in Limpopo. Like most of his friends, he was at first an avid football player who also participated in athletics.

“I started high jump when I was 13. Four years later I won the first national title and that changed everything for me. My coach arranged for me to go and study at Prestige College,” said Moleya who is hoping to study Sports Science next year at Tuks.

What excites Badenhorst is that Moleya has up to now never really done any serious training. His achievements are apparently due to pure talent and hunger to be the best.

“I only started to coach Chris from March. As far I am concerned he is as talented as the former world champion, Jacques Freitag, if not more.

“What impresses me about Chris is his self-belief. He has set himself specific goals, and he is going to achieve all of them. But I don't want him to be under pressure. The plan is that he should only be at his best in 2024.” - African News Agency (ANA)

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