Q&A WITH… JOVAN VAN VUUREN

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Country: South Africa

Profession: Athlete – Long jump

Career highlights:

  • 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist
  • 2022 World Championships team
  • 2022 Africa Championships finalist
  • 2022 National champion

With your commonwealth Bronze, you became the 4th South African Male to medal in the long jump. Can you take us through what went through your mind when you first realized you won the bronze medal?

Standing on the runway preparing for my last attempt in the long jump final, I took a long look at the crowd and searched for my coach. When I saw him I just got this rush of emotions, seeing him smiling, and realizing I just medalled at the Commonwealth Games …it was something special, a feeling I will cherish forever. After my last attempt, I stood up and walked out of the pit with my arms stretched out with a huge smile. At that moment I was overwhelmed with mixed emotions, I went down on my knees to thank God for the amazing opportunity, incredible talent, amazing team, and for blessing me with a season full of joy, hard lessons, victories, and making lifelong friends in the world of Athletics. I remember video calling one of my close friends Wayde van Niekerk, it was just joy and excitement. He shared a lot with me in terms of experience, what to do next and how to build on this massive achievement. Having a close friend like him is special in so many ways, especially sharing things with me from a world record perspective, and how to overcome challenges, take a negative, and turn it into a positive.

Being one of 4 athletes in SA Long Jump History to Medal at the Commonwealth Games is truly special. To be included in the history books is every athlete’s dream!

If there is such a thing as a perfect jump, what would it be for you?

I don’t think as an athlete you will ever reach the “perfect jump”, but it is more the aim you set for yourself. Every training session and competition you try to get closer and closer to that perfect jump. By chasing this “perfect jump” you identify areas where you need to improve, whether physical or mental, it doesn’t matter. I truly believe that’s how some athletes break world records, by chasing “Perfection”.

What athlete would you like to have around for dinner and why?

That’s easy. Mike Powell, because he is the world record holder, and if he declines my invitation, Bob Beamon the GOAT of Long Jump. Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to meet both one day and ask them for some tips.

What is your favourite board game?

I’m not really into board games. I’m more of an online games type of guy, call of duty, etc.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Spending all my money on cappuccinos and croissants at my favourite coffee shop. I’ll find a reason why it is a good idea for another cappuccino and croissant haha, I don’t care if it’s in-season or off-season.

Which book would you recommend everyone reads?

At this moment I can’t recommend anything. For now, it is articles and journals related to my master’s degree, but during my time off and away from my studies, I would listen to sports-related podcasts. 

What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Skydive and bungee jump, I would love to do it but yeah it comes down to fight or flight haha!

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