The Mercury

Manyonga shows his class with win

- Ockert De Villiers

THERE can be no doubt any more that Luvo Manyonga is the real deal after he once again produced the goods on the big stage at the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai on Saturday.

The South African landed another mammoth 8.61m jump kicking sand in the eyes of a quality field that included Olympic champion Jeff Henderson of the US.

Henderson narrowly beat Manyonga at last year’s global showpiece in Rio de Janeiro on his last jump to wrest the gold medal from the South African phenom.

The victory over Henderson should serve as some sort of consolatio­n for last year’s one-centimetre defeat to the American at the Rio Olympic Games.

“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 website.

“I didn’t get the distance I wanted today as I was looking for 8.80m, but I know it will come.”

Manyonga leapt to a new South African record of 8.62m at the Gauteng North Championsh­ips in Pretoria in March before extending his record by three centimetre­s at the national championsh­ips in Pothefstro­om last month.

“I am pleased to win again, my success has been down to hard work, training, dedication and commitment,” Manyonga said.

“I hope now to just go on and win everything I can this season.”

Manyonga opened the competitio­n with a new meeting record of 8.48m, before extending his lead by a centimetre on his third attempt after a no-jump on his second.

Failing to record legal jumps on his fourth and fifth attempts, Manyonga unleashed the 8.61m leap for an emphatic victory.

The Chinese duo of Gao Xinglong and Huang Changzhou claimed the silver and bronze medals with jumps of 8.22m and 8.20m respective­ly, and while fellow South African Ruswahl Samaai finished in fifth place with a top jump of 8.18m, former national record-holder Khotso Mokoena had to be content with eighth place with a jump of 7.85m.

Earlier, South African 400m hurdles record-holder LJ van Zyl earned his second Diamond League podium finish of the season winning silver in his specialist event.

Van Zyl dipped at the line in a time of 49.35 seconds behind American Bershawn Jackson, who blitzed to a meet record of 48.63. Rasmus Magi of Estonia rounded off the podium with a time of 49.38.


“I am happy with my race, the time will come, it was better than in the Doha Diamond League (where he finished third) so I am slowly but surely reaching top form,” Van Zyl said.

“I’d rather run a few 49s now than closer to the London World Championsh­ips where I hope to be in the 48s.

“The fighting spirit is there, I’ve been at a cross-road earlier the season where I didn’t know which way to go but coach Hennie Kriel got me back on the right track.”

Meanwhile, short sprinter Emile Erasmus made a major breakthrou­gh at a cold and windy Pretoria slashing 0.13 off his personal best in the 100m clocking 10.08 at a Gauteng North League meeting.

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

“At that moment the conditions were perfect, over the last few weeks I was a bit negative as my times remained constant,” Erasmus said.

“I am very happy to run a time like this in rain, cold, and cloudy conditions

like this.”

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