Athlete Profile

    South Africa South Africa
    08 JAN 1991
Luvo Manyonga of South Africa competes in the men's long jump final (Getty Images)


Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
100 Metres 10.39 +2.1 Pretoria (RSA) 03 JUN 2017
Long Jump 8.65 +1.3 Potchefstroom (RSA) 22 APR 2017 AR
Triple Jump 15.71 +1.0 Germiston (RSA) 11 APR 2010

Latest Active Season: 2017


Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
100 Metres 10.39 +2.1 Pretoria (RSA) 03 JUN 2017
Long Jump 8.65 +1.3 Potchefstroom (RSA) 22 APR 2017 AR


Long Jump

Performance Wind Place Date
2017 8.65 +1.3 Potchefstroom (RSA) 22 APR 2017
2016 8.48 +0.1 Bruxelles (BEL) 09 SEP 2016
2014 7.23 +1.2 Bellville (RSA) 01 MAR 2014
2013 7.70 Stellenbosch (RSA) 13 DEC 2013
2011 8.26 +0.9 Jämsä (FIN) 02 JUL 2011
2010 8.19 +1.5 Bottrop (GER) 09 JUL 2010
2009 7.49 +1.6 Bambous (MRI) 30 JUL 2009


Triple Jump

Performance Wind Place Date
2010 15.71 +1.0 Germiston (RSA) 11 APR 2010
2009 15.55 Stellenbosch (RSA) 13 MAR 2009

Honours - Olympic Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. Long Jump 8.37 -0.3 Rio de Janeiro (BRA) 13 AUG 2016

Honours - World Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. Long Jump 8.48 +0.4 London (GBR) 05 AUG 2017
5. Long Jump 8.21 +0.2 Daegu (KOR) 02 SEP 2011

Honours - World U20 Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. Long Jump 7.99 -1.0 Moncton (CAN) 21 JUL 2010

Honours - African Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. Long Jump 8.23 +4.2 Durban (RSA) 23 JUN 2016

Honours - All-African Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. Long Jump 8.02 -0.1 Maputo (MOZ) 15 SEP 2011

Honours - Diamond League

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. Long Jump 8.49 -0.7 Zürich (SUI) 24 AUG 2017
1. Long Jump 8.36 +3.3 Stockholm (SWE) 18 JUN 2017
1. Long Jump 8.61 +0.7 Shanghai (CHN) 13 MAY 2017
1. Long Jump 8.48 +0.1 Bruxelles (BEL) 09 SEP 2016

Honours - African U20 Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
3. Long Jump 7.49 +1.6 Bambous (MRI) 30 JUL 2009

Honours - National Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. Long Jump 8.65 +1.3 Potchefstroom (RSA) 22 APR 2017

Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.


Updated 1 August 2017


Luvo MANYONGA, South Africa (Long Jump/Triple Jump)

Born 8 January 1991 in Mbekweni, South Africa

Coach: Neil Cornelius (RSA)



Emerging as one of the world’s best long jumpers in almost a decade, Luvo Manyonga added the South African and African records in 2017 to his growing list of accolades.


Manyonga improved the previous national record held by former world silver medallist Khotso Mokoena by 12 centimetres at his provincial championships in Pretoria.


This would be his first of four jumps of over 8.60 metres at consecutive meetings to highlight his consistency and prove he is not a mere flash in the pan.


A year ago, Manyonga was celebrating more than just sporting achievement.


Unleashing a joyful yell, Manyonga stepped onto the Pilditch track before doing a back flip celebrating an Olympic qualifying jump, signalling his return to long jump after a four-year absence from the elite sport.


Manyonga had good reason to literally jump for joy after serving an 18-month ban for the recreational drug methamphetamine, and the loss of his coach in a car accident.


The 2010 World Junior champion reached the qualifying mark at his first meet back before improving his personal best by four centimetres six days later. “The first qualifying jump showed me there was more in me and the season would look good if I continue to do as well as I did in training,” Manyonga said.


Manyonga grew up in Mbekweni, a poor community outside Paarl in South Africa’s Western Cape, with a history of drugs and gang-related violence.


His father, John worked as a fork-lift driver and mother, Joyce was a domestic cleaner trying to sustain Manyonga and his two siblings.


The lanky Manyonga showed an interest in the sport from an early age, racing the 100m and 200m at primary school, but took up jumping thanks to the encouragement of one of his teachers Monelisi Adonis. “At first I did high jumping for two months and progressed to as high as 1.95m,” Manyonga said.

“Then I did triple and long jumping until about halfway through 2009.  Then I gave up triple jumping because I kept on injuring my hip.”


Manyonga discovered his long and triple jump talents as a 16-year-old, and his successes in the pit brought him fame and relative fortune in the township.


His talents would soon lead him to coach Mario Smith at the University of Stellenbosch where he had taken the athlete under his wing.


The long jump prodigy won his first major medal at the South African Championships in 2009, finishing third with a wind-assisted effort of 7.28m, before adding another bronze at the Africa Junior Championships in Bambous, Mauritius with 7.49m.


At the beginning of 2010, Manyonga leapt beyond eight metres for the first time, a feat he managed four times in the first part of the year before breaking Khotso Mokoena’s South African junior record of 8.09m from 2004 with a jump of 8.19m.


Buoyed by superb performances, Manyonga won long jump gold at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Moncton, Canada with a best leap of 7.99m. “I wasn’t going to settle for the silver medal; I have been battling a bit with my left knee, but I put it right out of my mind to get through to the win,” Manyonga said at the time.


Back home he would receive a hero’s welcome, which included a parade through Mbekweni.


His star would continue to rise the next year, as he leapt to a new personal best of 8.26m, earning a place at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu in 2011, where he would place fifth.


He crowned the 2011 season winning the All Africa Games title in Maputo, Mozambique, with a best leap of 8.02m.


Manyonga first experimented with the highly addictive methamphetamine that same year, but would only realise the error of his way in 2012.


One qualifying jump away from Olympic qualification, Manyonga tested positive for the recreational drug at the national championships series, copping an 18-month ban.


The addiction would send the talented athlete into a downward spiral, while he would also suffer further personal setbacks.Nine months after he had served his ban, Manyonga suffered another setback following the death of his long-time coach in a car accident in June 2014.


After a few near-death experiences facing gangsters, and feeling the effects of the drugs, Manyonga was given a second chance at life and his career when he was moved to a more conducive environment.


Former South Africa Olympic swimming gold medallist Ryk Neethling took a keen interest in helping the athlete along the way, and Manyonga was eventually placed at the University of Pretoria. “I went through rehab before and learned how to get over that thing and you need to accept that you are powerless and then get away from it,” Manyonga said. “I decided I can’t be in Cape Town anymore because that is where I hook-up myself with the devil and I decided to come this side. It is much healthier for me to be here.”


Manyonga has since been training under the guidance of Neil Cornelius while he is constantly monitored by the university’s High Performance Centre.


Producing an Olympic qualifying jump at his first meet was an indication of the athlete’s return to form while he has also cultivated the desire to stay on the straight and narrow path.


In his free time, Manyonga spends time with his house mates which include South African sprinter Henricho Bruintjies, and 400m hurdler Lindsay Hanekom playing card games, listening to music or spending time on social media.


Each leap is dedicated to his five-year-old son Lindokuhle, while he hopes to finish secondary school sometime in the future. “I’ve been motivated by seeing my child look up to me, and I need to make sure my child’s future is brighter while I don’t want him to fall into the same traps as I did,” Manyonga said. “When I take my run-up it feels like I go from being held back to leaping towards freedom.”


At his first national championships since 2012, Manyonga had only one legal jump of 6.70m, missing out on a spot in the final while suffering an ankle injury that would briefly derail his season.


He made a low-key Diamond League return in Rome in June, where he finished seventh with a best effort of 8.03m.


In his final competition before the Rio Olympic Games, Manyonga won silver at the African Athletics Championships in Durban, South Africa with a wind-assisted jump of 8.23m.


If Manyonga had any nerves about performing on the greatest stage of them all, he managed to hide it well from the gaze of the world where he qualified into the final with a best leap of 8.12m.


Manyonga opened with a solid opening jump of 8.16m before taking the lead with his fourth attempt of 8.28m on the evening of the final. He extended his lead with a new personal best of 8.37m only to see Jeff Henderson wresting the title away to claim a victory by one centimetre on his final attempt to reduce the South African to a silver medal. “I wasn't nervous, I felt it inside that it is coming out so I was relaxed and I took it out and it motivated me because my coached said I needed to make the first jump to buy the next five jumps,” Manyonga said after winning the country’s second long-jump silver medal at the Games.


Manyonga then came within two centimetres of former World champion Khotso Mokoena’s national record with a new life-time best of 8.48m at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels.


At the 2017 South African Championships in Potchefstroom in April, Manyonga extended his national record by three centimetres with an opening jump of 8.65m before retiring hurt with his maiden title in the bag.


With that jump, Manyonga launched himself into 11th place on the world all-time list while recording the best jump in the world since 2009. The Rio Olympic Games silver medallist won the Shanghai Diamond League meeting with a best leap of 8.61m.


The South African then landed three centimetres short of his South African record at the FBK Games in Hengelo with a winning jump of 8.62m after opening with an 8.60m.


Personal Bests

Long jump- 8:65 AR (2017)

Triple jump- 15.71A (2010) 


Yearly Progression

Long Jump: 2009- 7.65, 2010- 8.19 AJR, 2011- 8.26; 2012- -; 2013- 7.70; 2014- 7.23; 2015- -; 2016-8.48; 2017- 8.65m AR

Triple Jump: 2009-15.55; 2010-15.71A 


Career Highlights

2009    3rd        South African Championships (Stellenbosch)                        (Long Jump)       7.28w 

2009    2nd       South African Championships (Stellenbosch)                         (Triple Jump)   15.55 

2009    2nd       South African Junior Championships (Pretoria)                     (Long Jump)       7.04A 

2009    2nd       South African Junior Championships (Pretoria)                      (Triple Jump)   15.35A 

2009    3rd        African Junior Championships (Bambous)                            (Long Jump)       7.94 

2010    5th        South African Championships (Durban)                                (Triple Jump)    15.40 

2010    1st        South African Junior Championships (Germinston)                (Long Jump)       8.05A 

2010    2nd       South African Junior Championships (Germinston)                (Triple Jump)    15.71A 

2010    1st        World Junior Championships  (Moncton)                               (Long Jump)       7.99 

2011    1st        South African U23 Championships (Germinston)                   (Long Jump)       8.07A 

2011    2nd       South African Championships (Durban)                                 (Long Jump)       7.94w 

2011    5th        World Championships (Daegu)                                              (Long Jump)       8.21 

2011    1st        All-Africa Games (Maputo)                                                   (Long Jump)       8.02 

2016    2nd       Africa Championships (Durban)                                            (Long Jump)       8.23w 

2016    2nd       Rio Olympic Games (Rio de Janeiro)                                     (Long Jump)       8.37

2017    1st        South African Championships (Potchefstroom)                      (Long Jump)       8.65A 


Prepared by Ockert de Villiers for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2016-2017