More glory for Makusha

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Zimbabwe’s track and field star Ngonidzashe Makusha won the men’s long jump title at the IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich on Thursday night.

Makusha, who won the bronze medal at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last week — Zimbabwe’s first ever medal at that level — jumped 8,00m on his first attempt and nobody surpassed the mark for the remainder of the competition.

In fact Makusha who has a season best jump of 8,4m, which is the fourth best leap in the world this season, could have easily won with his second attempt jump of 7,99m as he was just in a class of his own.

Russia’s Menkov Aleksandr was a distant second with a best leap of 7,94m in his third attempt, while Portugal’s Chuva Marcos was in third place after a best jump of 7,88m.

Four-time world champion, American Dwight Phillips who won the gold medal at the just ended World Championships was fourth with a best leap of 7,87m.

Former World Champion Sebastian Bayer from Germany was in fifth with a best jump of 7,78m while US’s Claye Will was sixth with a best leap of 7,34m.

Thursday’s win took the world bronze medalist to second in the IAAF Diamond Race, behind world silver medalist Australian Watt, who could only manage seventh position with a below par jump of 6,97m.

Watt had won three previous Diamond League competitions, which included a new Oceania record of 8,54m at the Stockholm meet.

The multi-talented Makusha who only turned professional in June continues to raise the country’s flag at the grand stage and is now a strong favourite for a gold medal at the London Olympics next year.

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 who started off as a specialist long jumper before making an immediate impact in his first few races as a sprinter is the Zimbabwean record holder over 100m and long jump with 9,89secs and 8,40m respectively.

Makusha was expected to link up with his fellow Zimbabwean athletes in Mozambique at the 13th All-Africa Games, but will no longer be going there due to academic commitments at Florida State University.