DOB – 25th September 1991
EVENT – LONG JUMP
KEY ACHIEVEMENTS / MEDALS –
COMMONWEALTH GAMES GLASGOW 2014 – BRONZE,
AFRICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS, DURBAN 2016, GOLD
IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS LONDON 2017, BRONZE
PERSONAL BEST – 8.38 M
“Sport is a major part of how I conduct my day, time and even my life. Sport has been the reason for my escape from being on the streets to drugs and gangsterism. It helped me become the person I am today. It changed my life in so many ways. Ways I never though of that it could happen.”
Rushwal Samaai lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, he grew up in a poor neighbourhood of Paarl. He was driven to compete in athletics and would regularly walk nearly ten kilometres to the local running track to train. He studies transport management at the University of Johannesburg.
He made his first step on the national scene as a 19 years old at the 2011 South African Championships, where he placed third and set a PB of 7.75m
He improved in 2012 winning the national U-23 championships with 7.94m before repeating his third place at the senior championships.
His performances were remarkable also in the triple jump, although he chose to focus on the long jump. His PB in triple jump 16.10 m was set in Pretoria in 2014.
“Sport is more than just winning, although it can feed your drive to win. It is a connection between people. It could bring the best and worst out of someone. It forms friendship, family and also rivalry.”
Ruswahl Samaai began 2014 with a world- leading performance of 8.10 m.
A new personal best and his first leap over eight metres.
He cleared 8.13 m in March, placing second in the world rankings and he got closer to this measure also at the South African Championships taking the second place.
In 2014 he also started competing on the International track and field circuit having his first podium finish on the Diamond League circuit, placing third at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York. After that he was second at the Folksam Grand Prix.
He was selected to represent South Africa at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and he cleared 8.08 m in the long jump final earning the bronze medal.
He ended the season with another bronze medal at the African Games in Morocco with 7.84m
“The sentence I repeat to myself when I need to be motivated is : Phi 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
In 2015 he began the season with a new PB 8.38 m in April at the national championships that placed him fourth on the world ranking, but unfortunately he could not match this result lately.
A small injury did not allow him to take part to the first international competitions of the season.
At the IAAF World Championships in Beijing he got only the 20th place with 7.79 m, but he closed the season at the 2015 Great City Games in Manchester right on the top of the podium with 7.97 m
“Sport could be a seal of change. Bringing so many people together from different parts of the whole to the difference in skin colour. Its a legacy that could go on and on for generation to come. The achievement of a person could go on for many years. Most important, sport gives me the freedom and its one of the important things in my life”
Posting a new personal best leap of 8.38m for his maiden Diamond League victory in Rabat, Samaai booked his place for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016
Samaai received a confidence boost ahead of his Olympic debut winning the African title with a wind-assisted 8.40m jump in Durban.
The South African long-jump ace made it past the qualifying round at the Games with a best jump of 8.03m.
Hampered by a niggling hamstring injury, Samaai finished with a credible ninth place in the final with a best attempt 7.97m.
Samaai would make his big breakthrough in 2017 first improving his lifetime best by 11 centimetres to claim the silver medal at the South African Senior Track and Field Championships in Potchefstroom.
Proving to be a model of consistency he recorded 16 jumps over 8.20m in the build-up to the IAAF World Championships in London.
At the championships he produced the best performance of his career winning the bronze medal with a best leap of 8.32m sharing the podium with fellow South African and world champion Luvo Manyonga.
“ I’m an opportunist. I take each and every day as an opportunity. The window for opportunity is small, that’s why I make use of every opportunity as it were my last.”