Luvo Manyonga Picture: Reg Caldecott

Running a sub two-hour marathon and jumping further than nine metres is probably the ultimate target the world’s best athletes in that discipline are aiming for sometime in the future.

Here in South Africa, long jump ace Luvo Manyonga has shown the potential is there. In the last four weeks he has achieved what no other jumper has done since 2009 – to jump further than 8.60m.

He’s done so on two occasions. Last weekend at the South African Championships in Potchefstroom he jumped 8.65m to set a new national and African record. Prior to that, at the Gauteng North Championships, he jumped 8.62m.

According to his agent Lee-Roy Newton, the Tuks-athlete has not even come close to fulfilling his true potential, and he believes the question is no longer whether Manyonga can jump nine metres, but rather when he will jump nine metres.

Newton’s confidence stems from drawing comparisons between the world record-holder Mike Powell’s (US), magical world-breaking year and what Manyonga has achieved so far this season.

“In 1991, when Powell jumped 8.95m to set a new world record at the Tokyo World Championships, he started his season by jumping 8.33m in May. He then averaged distances of 8.40m, leading up to the World Championships,” explained Newton.

“Luvo started his season with a jump of 8.40m followed by a jump of 8.62m and now at the national championships he jumped 8.65m. So, it’s clear at this stage that he’s ticking all the right “boxes” to jump close to nine metres. I can confidently say he is capable of even going past nine metres.”

Manyonga is quite confident of his capabilities and believes that he has what it takes to jump further than nine metres.

“You can say it is my calling to jump nine metres, but I never focus on a specific distance when I compete. The only thing that matters is to ensure that I master all the small aspects in my technique. If I do that, I know that the big jump will happen,” said Manyonga.

Neil Cornelius (Tuks Coach) and Wayne Coldman (HPC conditioning coach) both say the distance Manyonga has jumped so far is due to pure talent.

“We’ve not started with the next level of training, which focuses on what is needed for him to be really competitive. To be honest, I would say we have done around 50% of the training he needs to do before the World Championships,” explained Coldman.

Manyonga’s next competition will be the Shanghai Diamond League on May 14.