LONDON - High-flying long-jumper Luvo Manyonga is willing to go to dizzying heights to break the world record and will be looking for some assistance from the rarefied air of the French Alps to achieve this.
The alpine resort of Tignes in south-eastern France, will next week host some of the world’s best horizontal jumpers where it has purposely built what should be the highest jumping pits on the planet at 3032m in altitude.
Manyonga became South Africa’s first long jump world champion over the weekend, adding the senior title to the junior gold he won in 2010.
The South African long-jump ace shared the podium with compatriot Ruswahl Samaai, the duo winning the country’s first double-medal in the same final at the global showpiece.
Manyonga produced his winning jump of 8.48m on his second attempt, with American Jarrion Lawson finishing second with a best attempt of 8.44m, while Samaai bagged the bronze with his 8.32m.
Speaking days after winning his maiden senior world title, Manyonga said there was no time for celebrations as he still had a few more boxes to tick off in the season.
“After the competition there is almost no high, everything just remains the same because we had a plan before we came here,” Manyonga said.
“Becoming world champion is just the start, I will be on a high when I finish the Diamond League final. Only then can I relax.”
“I will be jumping at 3000 metres above sea level, where I will be on a mountain (next week).”
Manyonga’s coach Neil Cornelius believes if his charge does not set a new world record in Tignes, he would do it somewhere in the near future.
“It is going to happen, eventually, I am very positive we will get a massive distance there (Tignes),” Cornelius said.
“I have no doubt it is going to happen whether it is this year or next year but I can tell you Tignes is the competition to look out for.”
Since breaking the South African and African record and consistently jumping over 8.60 metres, Manyonga has spoken about breaking American Mike Powell’s world mark of 8.95m, set in 1991's World Championship in Athletics in Tokyo. Altitude is said to have been a major factor when former record holder, Bob Beamon of the US, broke the world record with an opening jump of 8.90m at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
Boasting a personal best of 8.65m and steeled by his world-title winning performance in London, Manyonga will be bullish about at least scaring the world record.
Cornelius said although he believes Manyonga has the ability to break the record, they were first looking for more consistent performances at longer distances.
“We don’t just want one massive jump, we want consistent, natural improvements and things that stick,” Cornelius said.
“I know if he executes it right, the big distances will come Luvo’s top 10 average at the moment is 8.49m, so my next goal is for him to get an 8.6m, which means more consistent 8.7 and 8.8 jumps.”