NATIONAL 100m and long jump record holder Ngoni Makusha made a return to the international scene with a bang this week after winning a bronze medal in long jump at the IAAF World Challenge championships in Beijing, China.
REPORT BY SPORTS REPORTER
Makusha, who has been absent on the international scene for almost a year after rupturing his Achilles tendon during a training session last May, an injury that forced him out of the London Summer Olympic Games, returned on Saturday to take part in the Shanghai Diamond League championships.
The 27-year-old made a 7,96m leap in his first approach meet in the long jump, but it was only good for a fifth place.
On Wednesday, he made it to the podium.
In a strong field at the iconic National Stadium, which is also known as the “Bird’s Nest”, that had three of the previous four IAAF World Indoor Championships gold medallists and also the 2008 Olympic Champion Irving Saladino’ Makusha defied all odds to make it into the top three with a 8,04m leap, behind winner Li Jinzhe (8,31m) from the host nation and Ghanaian Ignisious Gaisah who won the silver medal.
“We are extremely happy with Ngoni and his performance in Shanghai and Beijing. Ngoni has worked very hard the last 11 months to get back to a world class level and represent his country.
“This was a horrific injury that most people take years to return from, if they ever return, so for him to be back and be on this level is amazing,” his manager Kenneth Harnden told NewsDay Sport from Beijing yesterday.
Makusha is the national record holder over 100m and long jump with 9,89 s (+1,3 m/s) and 8,40m (0,0 m/s) respectively. Both performances were achieved during the 2011 NCAA Division I Championships in Des Moines, Iowa where he completed the 100m and long jump double.
Following the two gold medals victory, Makusha has become one of the only four athletes to win the double (100 m and long jump) at the NCAA championships.
In 2011, Makusha was named the men’s winner of the Bowerman award which is awarded to the top collegiate track and field athlete of the year.