A young and energetic long jumper excels with unwavering passion and dedication in long jump.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in South Africa from an early age, Kalanga Olivia Muya (20) recently set a new personal best of 5.54 metres at the University Sport South Africa (USSA) long jump qualifiers.
Muya’s journey began when she enrolled at the University of Johannesburg in 2020, studying towards a degree in BCom business management. She caught the attention of her current coach, coach Patience Ntshingila.
Recognising her potential at the UJ stadium when Muya participated in the first-year athletics. Ntshingila, who is also a former long jumper herself, scouted Muya into the world of long jump.
Muya said she has always been athletic. “In my primary school years, I played netball, tennis and ran cross country. “While in high school, I played soccer and did high jump, sprints and short hurdles,” Muya said.
Her sister Hervine Muya told Wits Vuvuzela that, “Olivia has dedication and perseverance when it comes to athletics, when her first jumps are not always the best or up to her standards, she doesn’t give up easily.”
Muya said that sports not only sculpted her physique but also instilled vital life lessons. She added, “achieving my goals requires commitment, a lot of focus and hard work, because you can’t get to where you want just by simply showing up to training sessions but putting in effort.”
Bethel Makoni, a BCom honours in quantitative finance student and Muya’s teammate, told Wits Vuvuzela that Muya’s greatest strength is how she embodies hard work. “[Olivia] understands that great performances don’t come easy and she’s willing to do the work that yields those performances,” said Makoni.
Muya believes that her own capabilities have been boosted by the inspiring performances of athletes such as Tara Davis and Shaunae Miller-Uibo. Muya said her peers are also a source of inspiration, “I look at other athletes that I am surrounded by and seeing how hard they work and how well they perform pushes me to want to become better.”
Muya said her most memorable achievement in her long jump career was “hitting a new personal and seasonal best of 5.54 metres at the USSA championships” which were held on May 5, 2023.
Juggling school and sports has been difficult. “I don’t really think there is even a balance if I am being real, but my school timetable is usually favourable to my training times, if I am not training or competing then I am focusing on academics,” Muya said.
While long jump dominates Muya’s life, she remains grounded in her faith. She considers herself a ‘prayer warrior’, acknowledging that her strength, energy, and support system are gifts from God.
FEATURED: Kalanga Muya landing after a jump at the Germiston stadium. Photo: Supplied