18 October 2017

South Africa: Manyonga On the Move... From Pta to PE

World long jump champion and Rio Olympics silver medallist Luvo Manyonga is swopping Pretoria for Port Elizabeth.

This means he's leaving the University of Pretoria set-up starting a new adventure in the Eastern Cape.

Manyonga's agent Lee-Roy Newton said on Tuesday that one of the main reasons for Manyonga's decision is because he wants to be closer to his family.

Acknowledging Manyonga's move, Toby Sutcliffe, acting CEO of TuksSport, said he respects the decision.

'We wish Luvo all the best for the future and hope that he will continue to dominate the world of athletics. I think it's been an exciting two years for everyone at TuksSport who has been involved with Manyonga. Together with Luvo they indeed shifted the boundaries of international long jumping.'

Manyonga became the first male athlete from Tuks Athletics to win a world title when he won the long jump in London earlier this year. The only other Tuks athlete to have won a world title since 1992 was Caster Semenya who won the 800m in Berlin, Germany eight years ago.

Manyonga did more than just to win a title; he revived international long jumping by becoming the first athlete since 2010 to go past 8.50m. His best effort of 8.65m is an African and South African record. He also has one of the longest winning streaks.

After winning the Diamond League Final in Zurich a few weeks back, he extended his unbeaten record to10 victories.

His coach, Neil Cornelius, also made local athletics history by being the youngest South African coach (aged 29) to have coached a world champion.

At this stage it's not sure whether Manyonga will continue to be coached by Cornelius but indications are that he'll be guided and advised for the immediate future although not on a full-time basis. It also seems that the thinking, for now, at least would be for Cornelius to fly to Port Elizabeth a few days a week for some hands-on coaching.

Manyonga's decision to leave Tuks means that he is no longer eligible for accolades at the TuksSports Colours and Awards function.

The recipient of this coveted award is expected to be a brand ambassador for the University of Pretoria for the next 12 months.

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