In the sandpit
EXTENDING his unbeaten run on the international stage, Luvo Manyonga leapt to victory at the Stockholm IAAF Diamond League meeting to tighten his grip in the long-jump event.
His 8.36m winning jump may be modest for Manyonga’s lofty standards but the South African phenom can be excused as he continues his reign in the sandpit.
It was the first time in four meetings that Manyonga failed to extend the measuring tape past the 8.60m mark.
Showing equally good form, compatriot Ruswahl Samaai finished second behind Manyonga with a jump of 8.29m.
Other than overstepping on his third attempt, it was another faultless sequence of jumps for Manyonga.
The rest of Manyonga’s jumps all landed above 8.20m as he continues his superb unbeaten run this year.
The victory may have come at a cost, however, as Manyonga landed awkwardly on his final attempt, which seemed to have left him injured.
Former South African long jump recordholder Khotso Mokoena finished in sixth place with a best jump of 7.98m.
Manyonga and Samaai remain in the top two places on the world rankings with the former topping the ladder with his mammoth 8.65m from he South African Championships.
There were a few mishaps for two fellow South Africans with 110m hurdles record-holder Antonio Alkana false starting while one-lap hurdler LJ van Zyl clipped the final hurdle to lose his grasp of a podium place.
Alkana was disqualified, while Van Zyl had to be content with eighth place in a time of 51.42 seconds.
Earlier, middle distance ace Rynardt van Rensburg posted a season’s best 800m time of one minute, 45.73 seconds (1:45.73) for a third-place finish.
In the men’s 400m race Pieter Conradie finished eighth in the one-lap sprint with a pedestrian time of 47.22. Conradie won his heat earlier in the day with a much faster time of 45.88.
On Saturday evening a South African 4x100m relay quartet of Akani Simbine, Clarence Munyai, Thando Roto, and Henricho Bruintjies posted a time of 39.80 seconds in cold and windy conditions in Samorin, Slovakia.
South Africa needs to dip below 38.44 to stand a chance of booking a place for the IAAF World Championships in London in August.
With less than two months to go to the world championships, six South African athletes rank among the top three in their respective disciplines.
The next Diamond League meeting is scheduled for Paris at the beginning of next month.