ZIMBABWE track and field star Ngonidzashe Makusha returned to winning ways for the first time since his comeback from a long-term injury after emerging triumphant in the long jump event at the IAAF World Challenge meet in Hengelo, eastern Netherlands, on Saturday.
Report by Daniel Nhakaniso
The national 100m and long jump record holder won the long jump title with a leap to 8,20 metres in windy conditions with his fifth attempt to seal a deserved win.
Makusha, who won a bronze medal at the last edition of the IAAF World Championships in Degu, was lucky with the wind in his fifth attempt as the tailwind was measured to be +5,3.
In his fourth attempt, he also went over 8m after leaping 8,08 meters (+2,7), his best wind-legal jump of the competition was 7,89 (+0,7).
Christian Reif from Germany finished in second place with 8.08 m (+1,0) ahead of Ghanaian Ignisious Gaisah who took the third place with 8,03 m (+0,5). Alyn Camara from Germany was in fourth place with Mexico’s Luis Rivera in sixth and former Olympic champion Irving Saladino from Panama finishing in seventh position.
Makusha’s return to form comes when he is preparing for the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships set for August 10-18 in the Russian capital, Moscow. He won the bronze medal at the last edition held in Daegu, South Korea and will be eager to win another medal in Russia.
The IAAF World Challenge meet in the Netherlands at the weekend, was Makusha’s only third competitive meet since making a comeback from a lengthy injury. Makusha only returned to action last month, having 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.
Last month, the 27-year-old star, who is based in the US, returned to the world stage in style after finishing in third position at the IAAF World Challenge meet in Beijing, China on May 22. A week earlier, Makusha had made his long awaited return at the Shanghai Diamond League meet where he leaped 7,96m to finish in fifth place.
Makusha is the national record holder over 100m and long jump with 9,89 seconds and 8,40m respectively. Both performances were achieved during the 2011 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Championships in Des Moines, Iowa where he completed the 100m and long jump double.
The performances saw Makusha being named the men’s winner of the Bowerman award which is awarded to the top collegiate track and field athlete of the year.