LONDON – A rocket-propelled Luvo Mayonga launched from the take-off board and on to the top step of the podium to claim South Africa’s first long-jump gold medal at the IAAF World Championships in London.
Manyonga stepped way over the plasticine on his opening attempt, but soon made up with a mammoth 8.48-metre leap to launch him into first place.
It was a historic night for South Africa in the horizontal jumping event, with Ruswahl Samaai sharing the podium with Manyonga, finishing in third place.
With the South Africans claiming first and third place, it was the first time South Africa won two medals in the same event.
“Wow, two medals for
“This gold medal makes me feel over the moon. I have been praying to get this gold medal.
“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.”
Samaai worked hard for his medal after starting on a promising note, going into the second round in second place with his opening jump of 8.25m.
As the men went through the rounds, Samaai moved into fifth place before moving into the bronze medal position with his third legal jump of 8.27m.
Samaai added a few more centimetres to his bronze-medal winning performance with a final leap of 8.32m.
Seven years ago, Manyonga came home to a hero’s welcome, which included a parade through Mbekweni near Paarl after winning the 2010 World Junior title.
Finally producing on his massive promise by adding the world title to the Olympic silver medal, Manyonga, as well as Samaai, can expect a special welcome form South Africans.
America Jarrion Lawson kept the pressure on Manyonga and came within four centimetres of denying the South African, but had to be content with silver with his best attempt of 8.44m.