Luvo Manyonga focuses on world events

Luvo Manyonga landed an 8.35m jump at the SA championships in Germiston./ Roger Sedres / Gallo Images
Luvo Manyonga landed an 8.35m jump at the SA championships in Germiston./ Roger Sedres / Gallo Images

Having already begun his season with a bang by defending his SA national title, long-jump ace Luvo Manyonga is now gunning at retaining his World Championships and Diamond League titles.

Landing at 8.35m in the third round, Manyonga made light work of the men's long-jump event at the national senior championships at Germiston Athletics Stadium last week.

"As I have defended my SA title, now the aim is to go for the world and Diamond League titles," Manyonga said at the championships.

The lad from Mbekweni near Paarl in the Western Cape was not particularly thrilled about his 8.35m distance in Germiston, hoping he can still improve it as the season progresses.

"This year is quite a heavy year for me. I am not looking at the distance at this stage of the season. I want to show the world that I am capable of producing long distances, it will happen as the year progresses," noted Manyonga.

Finishing as runner-up to Cuban-born Juan Echevarria at last year's World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England, seems to have prompted Manyonga to do an introspection.

"Last year, I was focusing more on Juan and that killed me so much because I was not doing what I was supposed to do.

"This year, my main aim is to focus more on myself than my competitors," said the 2016 Rio Olympics silver-medallist.

"I have learnt that you do well if you compete with yourself. If you are looking at what others are doing, you won't make it because your mind will be set on 'let me compete against someone', and if that person is not there, what [are] you [going to] do?"

The World Championships are scheduled for Doha from September 28 to October 6 this year.

In his quest to defend his title, Manyonga has confirmed that he will minimise his programme leading up to this prestigious international athletics event.

"I will not do a lot of competitions, but I will do six before the World Champs because the body will get tired.

"This year, the main focus is Doha and it's hot there. I am planning to do a week of training there, just to acclimatise," stated Manyonga.

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