Any chance of South Africa's world champion Luvo Manyonga breaking the world long jump record at an event specially organised by the Tignes ski resort in the French Alps was blown away on Wednesday by an unpredictable wind.
At times, as athletes were competing, it was blowing at speeds of up to 3.7 metres per second from behind, nearly twice the legal limit allowed by the IAAF for record purposes.
Then, just as suddenly, the wind would nearly die down. The athletes were never sure what to expect from one attempt to the next. Also, competing at 3000m above sea level didn't make things any easier with the chilly conditions.
It should be no surprise then that Tuks athlete Manyonga's best attempt of 8.46m was a long way off from Mike Powell (USA)'s world record of 8.95m set in 1991.
Still, Neil Cornelius (Tuks/HPC coach) doesn't hesitate to describe it as one of Manyonga's best performances. 'Luvo showed real guts today. His first four attempts were all no jumps. A lesser athlete might just have decided to give up, especially in such difficult conditions, but that's not who Luvo is. He's a true fighter who was never going to give up without giving it a proper go right to the end of the competition.'
'During each of his first four attempts the wind was blowing at approximate speeds of 3.5m/s. What made it even more difficult, was that Luvo had to get used to being much faster in his approach at such a high altitude. He had a massive second jump.'
Cornelius said Manyonga's fifth attempt was crucial. 'We were under real pressure. We had to get something on the scoreboard. So I told Luvo just to relax and ease down slightly so as to make sure his next jump counts. I was surprised with the ease he managed to jump 8.35m. That was the confidence booster we needed. Luvo went for it again with his last attempt.
'The high altitude also certainly took its toll on the athletes. Luvo was physically drained after his last jump and was battling to breathe properly.'
Kafetien Gomis (France) was second with a best attempt of 8.22m. Emiliano Lasa (Uruguay) was third, jumping 8.18m and Damar Forbes fourth with a jump of 8.06m.
Will Claye (USA) won the triple jump with a best effort of 17.42m. Compatriot Christian Taylor was second, jumping 16.99m.