Ruswahl Samaai may live in the shadow of his more established compatriot Luvo Manyonga in the long jump on the international scene but he believes that his time to take centre stage is fast approaching.
Samaai settled for a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in April with Manyonga grabbing the headlines by claiming gold following an impressive leap of 8.41m ahead of Henry Frayne of Australia.
It was the same story at the 2017 World Championships in London where Manyonga took gold and the 27-year old Samaai finished third with Jarrion Lawson of the US coming second.
"We talk about a lot of things and I believe that our competition is very healthy‚" he said. "I remember during the Commonwealth Games‚ he would come to me and say ‘please help me with this and that’.
"People think it is just about competing but we also help each other even though we are in competition."
I always have a plan with my coach‚ we know where we want to go and what we want to do. With performances‚ everything is going to come and my mind is not focusing on beating Luvo or others in the world
Samaai said he had taken a lot of inspiration from Manyonga’s achievements and he was motivated to continue working hard to become the best in the business.
"It is good having a world champion in SA because it motivates me to become number one and I’m heading there. I have a lot of respect for Luvo but I don’t focus too much on him but on what I want to achieve.
"I always have a plan with my coach‚ we know where we want to go and what we want to do. With performances‚ everything is going to come and my mind is not focusing on beating Luvo or others in the world.
"It is about me trying to improve every single meeting. I am trying to improve and be the best that I can be. My time will come and I want to do that at a major championship."
To get to the top and possibly beat Manyonga‚ Samaai said he needed to be consistent in the next three years, a period that covers two world championships and the Olympics.
"The upcoming three years are going to be important for me because we have the world champs in 2019 in Doha‚ Olympics in 2020 in Beijing and the world champs again in 2021 in Eugene in the US‚" he said.
"I have to be careful on how I manage certain things heading in that direction."
Over the next four months‚ Samaai will be based in Italy as he will be competing in the Diamond League and he is looking forward to the challenge.
"I leave on May 26 and return in September. My first Diamond League is in Rome at the end of June and there are other meets confirmed for me outside the Diamond League."