Ngonidzashe Makusha comfortably qualified for Friday’s long jump final at the ongoing IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea after topping Group B with the fourth best leap of 8,11m in the qualifying rounds.
The 24 year-old was tipped to easily cruise through the qualifying round after finishing joint top in Group B and also joint fourth in the overall standings in qualification.
Only 12 athletes from the 40 who took part in the qualifying round qualified for today’s final and Makusha will be one of the favourites after finishing in the top four.
Makusha, who boasts of the world’s second-best leap this season (8,40m), got off to the ideal start when he leapt 8,05m in his first attempt which could also have seen him qualify for the final.
His second attempt was not as good as he failed to reach 8m with 7,83m after he took off way behind the board before reserving his best form for last on his third attempt.
The Zimbabwean record holder’s mark was only bettered by three-time world champ Dwight Phillips (US) who leapt 8,32m, Australian Mitchell Watt (8,15m), defending champion Christian Reif from Germany, (8,13m).
Makusha went into Thursday’s event determined to redeem himself after failing to qualify for the 100m final after finishing fifth in his semi-final heat in 10,27 seconds.
Makusha is the reigning United States National Collegiate Athletic Association champion in both the 100m and the long jump, one of the only four athletes to achieve that feat at the NCAA Championships.
The three others are DeHart Hubbard (1925), Jesse Owens (1935 and 1936) and Carl Lewis (1981).
The former Mandedza High and Churchill Boys’ High student started off as a specialist long jumper before making an immediate impact in his first few races as a sprinter.
Soon after the World Championships, Makusha will link up with his compatriots in Mozambique where he will also represent the country at the 13th All -Africa Games.