The University of Johannesburg is set to leap ahead in the international athletics arena with the establishment of a specialised African jumping academy at its Kingsway Campus in Auckland Park.

Focusing on all disciplines, including long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault, the academy will raise the bar for UJ’s already world-class jumpers and has begun attracting interest from athletes across the continent.

The university’s newly appointed head athletics coach Emmarie Fouché, who is also the continental jumps coach, has been tasked with setting up the academy.

Fouché said it was still early days for the programme but that there was a clear vision to become the leading jumping academy in Africa by 2017.

“We will focus on all levels from early talent development to elite and international medal winners.”

She said the academy would follow a holistic approach to the jumpers’ development, encompassing body, mind and spirit.

“We want to build human beings who can excel on the global platform and also build the global excellence and stature of the university.”

UJ long jump stars Zarck Visser and Ruswahl Samaai have already done the institution proud, taking gold and bronze respectively at the African championships in Morocco last year.

Their club teammate and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Khotso Mokoena claimed gold in the triple jump and silver in the long jump at that same event.

Fouché said their successes were proof that the institution had already laid a solid foundation for the programme.

“At the African champs, all the men’s medal winners were students and club members of UJ. We already have a gold mine of talent to work with.

“I was also approached by a number of well-known jumpers from other countries but the structures were not in place at the time.”

According to Fouché, her long-term vision is to provide an interdisciplinary approach to coaching with the best possible support services. These would include sport scientists, biokineticists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, masseuses, sports psychologists and technical advisors.

“But this is not something that happens overnight; it is a structure that is developed over a period of time and we have short, medium and long-term goals.”

She said some of the goal sets involved developing medal contenders for the youth, junior and senior championships across the globe.

“The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio will most definitely feature in our ambitions and we’ll also be preparing for the IAAF World Senior Championships in Beijing in August.”

Fouché said one of the future objectives was to establish satellite academies on UJ’s other three campuses, which would eventually become self-sustaining.

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The University of Johannesburg’s athletics head coach Emmarie Fouché (left), who is also the continental jumps coach, has been tasked with setting up an African jumping academy at the Kingsway Campus in Auckland Park. Fouché is pictured here with her athlete and African long jump champion Zarck Visser at last year’s UJ Sports Awards. Photo: UJ Sport

Issued by:

Coetzee Gouws
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082 575 7991

On behalf of:

University of Johannesburg Sport