Despondent Samaai wants to end it all

Long jump star fails to reach Olympics final

Ruswahl Samaai of South Africa in action.
Ruswahl Samaai of South Africa in action.
Image: Aleksandra Szmigiel

SA long jump star Ruswahl Samaai wished the earth could open up to swallow him after he failed to qualify for the long jump final at the weekend.

Samaai described his shock exit from the Olympics as the saddest day of his life. He wished he could pinch himself to see if he was not dreaming, unfortunately, the nightmare was true for the Paarl-born athlete.

Sammai says he wants to retire from athletics as he deemed himself a failure for failing to qualify for the Olympics long jump final for the second time.

Samaai was heartbroken over his elimination from the Olympics after he could manage 7.74m to finish in a disappointing 22nd place in the qualification rounds. He failed to make the top 12 for the long jump final, and he was distraught.

The three-time SA long jump champion and two-time African champion went into the Games as one of the favourites to make the podium. He said it was his moment before he arrived in Tokyo from his training camp in Gemona, Italy. But it ended in tears and heartbreak, and quitting seems to be the option for the short-tempered athlete.

His 2016 Rio Games ended in tears after he failed to make the final. He vowed to come back stronger, but everything fell apart in Tokyo. “I do not know what to say. I came here with one obligation, and it was to contribute to Team SA's medal tally. I failed dismally, and that jump was nowhere my best jump. I feel that I want to retire.”

He said it is time for a change as he felt that he failed one too many in his quest to win an Olympic medal. “I think it is time for a change. It is time for a different environment. I feel disgusted, and I feel like an athlete that could call a conference and say that I want to retire today. That is how I feel. I don’t know what to say.”

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