Makusha qualifies for World Indoor Games

HARARE - Zimbabwean track and field star Ngonidzashe Makusha on Friday qualified for the World Indoor Games in Sopot, Poland, after coming first at XL Galan in the Swedish capital Stockholm with a leap of 8.18.

Makusha was one of five jumpers who surpassed the eight-metre barrier in the long jump.

Zimbabwe’s 2011 world bronze medallist only took one jump, but his 8.18m held up for the win as the strongest challenge came from home favourite Michel Torneus, whose best mark measured four centimeters shorter.

Panama’s 2008 Olympic champion Irving Saladino was third with 8.11m, his best indoor mark for six years.

“Giving thanks and praises, Stockholm has been good to me,” Makusha wrote on his Twitter account.

Makusha opened 2014 season on a high note after he leapt 8.10m in the long jump at Blazer Indoor Invite Birmingham in the UK last month.

This was his farthest jump since his bronze medal-winning performance at the 2011 IAAF World Championships.

Makusha, who struggled to return to his best last year after suffering a serious injury just before the 2012 London Olympics, is seeking to make a bigger impact on the international stage this year.

The Seke-born athlete took a year break on the international scene due to his Achilles tendon rupture during a training session, which forced him out of the London Olympic Games.

He emerged as one of the world’s most exciting talents in 2011 with a spectacular double at the NCAA Championships and is now hoping to rediscover that form.

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