Sunday Tribune

Giant leap gives Luvo China gold


LUVO Manyonga made one small leap towards making up for his narrow Olympic long-jump defeat, beating a world-class field at the Shanghai Diamond League to make a soaring start to his internatio­nal season.

The Olympic silver medallist threw down the gauntlet, launching a characteri­stically massive opening jump before leaping to a new Diamond League record of 8.61m on his final attempt.

“The track was really fast and that made it difficult and I did a few fouls, and that was a distractio­n,” Manyonga told the IAAF. “I actually didn’t get the distance I wanted as I was looking for 8.80m, but I know it will come.

“I am pleased to win again. My success has been down to hard work, training, dedication and commitment. I hope now to just go on and win everything I can this season.”

With his first attempt Manyonga set a new meet record of 8.48m while his nearest rivals battled to land jumps over 8.20m.

After recording a no-jump with his second jump, Manyonga extended his lead by a centimetre, tightening his grip on the event.

Manyonga failed to record legal jumps on his fourth and fifth attempts before he wrapped up his Shanghai experience with the 8.61m effort.

The Chinese duo of Gao Xinglong and Huang Changzhou finished second and third in 8.22m and 8.20m.

It was a confidence-boosting display by the South African, beating Olympic champion Jeff Henderson of the United States.

The Shanghai Diamond League was void of the drama of the Olympic Games where Henderson beat Manyonga by one centimetre on his final jump but instead highlighte­d the South African’s dominance in the event.

Manyonga boasts the world lead with the South African and African record of 8.65m from the South African Championsh­ips which launched him into 11th place on the world all-time list.

The 25-year-old has certainly raised the level of long jump in the world which has become a bit stale in recent years. Manyonga has leapt over 8.60m three times this year already and it seems like it is only a matter of time before he reaches 8.70m and further as he looks to edge closer to the world record.

Compatriot Ruswahl Samaai finished fifth (8.18m) with former South African record-holder Khotso Mokoena posting a season’s best 7.85m for eighth place.

Showing good early form, South African 400m hurdles record-holder LJ van Zyl claimed his second consecutiv­e podium finish in the Diamond League.

American Bershawn Jackson clocked a fast 48.63 seconds with Van Zyl in second place in 49.35. Rasmus Magi of Estonia rounded off the podium with a time of 49.38.

Van Zyl beat out a quality field including Olympic champion Kerron Clement of the United States and defending world champion Nicholas Bett of Kenya.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world in a cold and dreary Pretoria, perennial South African 100m bronze medallist Emile Erasmus chopped 0.13 off his personal best clocking 10.08 at a Gauteng North League meeting.

His time launched him into fourth place on the South African rankings for the season behind national record-holder Akani Simbine, Thando Roto, and Wayde van Niekerk.

Racing in his first 200m this season, world bronze medallist Anaso Jobodwana posted a solid 20.69 to win his race.


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