Long-jump wizard Luvo Manyonga flew out of Johannesburg on Tuesday night looking to add the world indoor title to the outdoor crown he won in 2017.
Manyonga‚ unbeaten since finishing second by 1cm at the 2016 Olympic Games‚ spearheads a South African team of six at the showpiece in Birmingham from Thursday to Sunday.
Manyonga will have two compatriots with him in the long jump competition: Ruswahl Samaai‚ the bronze medallist behind him at the outdoor World Championships in London in 2017, and former world indoor champion Khotso Mokoena.
While Manyonga would love to share the podium with his compatriots‚ he knows on which step he wants to stand.
"I’ll be happy to get the win‚" Manyonga said.
"But it will depend on the body because it’s a long flight.
"What I’m looking forward to is representing my country and making my country proud. But the aim is the gold medal‚" said Manyonga‚ ranked No1 in the world with his 8.40m African indoor record. That is 2cm ahead of world No2 Jarrion Lawson of the US.
Manyonga‚ who also owns the 8.65m continental outdoor record‚ spoke in 2017 about his desire to beat the 8.95m world outdoor mark.
The 8.79m indoor mark is also on his horizon.
"That’s on my bucket list I wish I could achieve one day but this is my last shot [for the season]‚ so either I go big or go home," he said.
After the indoor cham- pionships Manyonga will compete at the South African championships in Pretoria before heading to Australia for the Commonwealth Games in April.
"My goal for [the] Commonwealth [Games] is to get a gold medal as it’s my first Commonwealth Games."
Manyonga said he was enjoying his new base in Port Elizabeth after relocating from Pretoria in late 2017.
Bradley Agnew‚ a colleague of his agent‚ Lee-Roy Newton‚ monitors his training and takes videos for his Pretoria-based coach‚ Neil Cornelius.
The men’s long jump final is scheduled to start at 9.35pm (South African time) on Friday.
The first South African athlete in action will be Dominique Scott in the women’s 3,000m final at 10.15pm on Thursday.
Carina Horn will race in the first round of the women’s 60m at 12.35pm on Friday and Scott is scheduled to return for the 1,500m at 9.48pm on Friday.
Antonio Alkana will compete in the 60m hurdles at 8.30pm on Saturday.