Luvo Manyonga jetted back into the country on Saturday morning in Johannesburg as a world champion and Diamond League winner and confidently declared that his best is yet to come‚ setting his sights on being the first long jumper to break the 9-metre mark.
The 26-year-old silver medalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio won South Africa’s first gold medal at this month’s IAAF Championship in London with a jump of 8.48 metres.
Manyonga also walked away with the Diamond League title for his leap of 8.49m in Zurich on Thursday to end the season unbeaten and ahead of fellow South African Rushwahl Samaai‚ who finished second.
“Next year I will be very good‚ this is just the taste of what more is going to come from me‚” Mayonga said shortly after he arrived at OR Tambo Airport.
“Myself and the team we are only just starting and I promise you that next year is going to be at another level. I want to be the first person to reach the 9m mark and I know that it is going to happen sometime in the future.
“This has been an epic year for me and I am proud of myself and the team that has been working with me behind the scenes. Without the team‚ things will not be as they are at the moment.
“At the beginning of the year I had a bet with my agent that I want to take everything that comes my way and it has happened. I am looking forward to next season but at the moment I need a good rest.”
Manyonga set the world leading distance for 2017 of 8.61 earlier in the season in Shanghai and he has set his sights on breaking Mike Powell’s record of 8.95 that has been standing since 1991.
“This season I was chasing 8.70m and also the world record but I have realised that when I force it‚ it won’t come. I must just go out there and have fun and hopefully it will come because I am still jumping and I am healthy‚” he said.
“I am not obsessed with the world record‚ I just want to achieve it as a goal. If I become obsessed with it‚ I won’t get it because I will be focusing on it too much and not doing what my coach and the team wants me what to do.”