South African long jumper Luvo Manyonga missed out SA’s first Olympic gold in Rio by a centimetre.
But his leap of 8.37m saw him secure South Africa’s fourth silver medal of the 2016 games early yesterday morning
It was Mzansi’s sixth of the Games, equalling Team SA’s haul from London 2012, with 400m world champion Wayde van Niekerk and 100m ace Akani Simbine in their respective finals last night.
Mbekweni-born star Manyonga was agonisingly close to a sensational gold medal after he jumped a new personal best in his showdown at the Rio Olympic Stadium.
But he was pipped to the top spot on the podium by the USA’s Jeff Henderson, who hit the lead with a dramatic final jump of 8.38m.
Manyonga, though, could not have been happier with his stunning effort after overcoming an addiction to tik.
And the smile on his face told it’s own story, as the 25-year-old explained that he felt like he had already won just by being in Rio.
The former junior world champion says: “This is just a bonus! My life already changed before I came here.
“I rose from my demons! Now I made it, I can’t even describe it! I don’t have the words. It was here [gold], in my hand! Then the guy [Henderson] just went ‘schloop’, and took it!”
Manyonga edged defending champion and favourite Greg Rutherford into the bronze medal place as fellow SA long jumper Ruswahl Samaai ended ninth.