Cape Town - Former world champion Luvo Manyonga, who earned silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is again expected to line up among the medal contenders in the men's long jump at the 2020 Games to be held in Tokyo in July.
The South African record holder sat down to talk about his 2019 season and what he hopes to achieve in the new campaign.
Question: Looking back, what are your thoughts on your 2019 season?
Answer: The 2019 season was a great one for me because in both performance and opportunities to grow as a person and athlete. I have learnt along the way that seasons don't go your way all the time and that you need to be happy if you have given your all out there. I also saw that there are some small things I need to change and I will be working on some improvements for this year.
Question: Are you pleased with your overall results in 2019, including your fourth position at the World Athletics Championships in Doha?
A: Yes, I am happy. The competition has changed so much in the long jump. There is a lot of depth and everyone is on their A game, so there are great rivalries that bring out the best in us. Of course, you always want to win, but I gave my best and am happy with the result.
Question: What was the highlight of your 2019 season?
LM: The World Champs. The winner (Tajay Gayle of Jamaica) was a surprise as he wasn't one of the favourites going into the competition, but it just showed the depth in long jump at the moment and I love competing against the best in the world.
Question: With so much depth in the long jump, how confident are you that you'll be ready to challenge for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics?
LM: Because of the intensity of the long jump at the moment, I know there is a lot of hard work that needs to be done before Tokyo, but I let that drive me every day and I believe I will be ready, come the Games, to jump my best.
Question: Do you still feel you can improve on your national record of 8.65m?
LM: Yes, I do and that will happen this season.
Question: How far are you from challenging for the world record (8.95m)?
LM: 2020 might be the year.
Question: Did you struggle with an injury for part of the 2019 season?
LM: I did have an injury, but I am healthy and injury free now.
Question: How much does it add to your motivation to compete with a compatriot (Ruswahl Samaai) who is also able to challenge for international medals?
LM: It always motivates me to have a fellow South African next to me, and I love that both of us can challenge the rest of the world. It's great to be with Ruswahl flying the SA flag high.
- Athletics South Africa