Golden delight for South Africa’s Manyonga, Simbine

JOHANNESBURG – Luvo Manyonga returned to the top of the podium at the scene of his greatest achievements winning the long-jump competition at the London Diamond League meeting over the weekend.

The world champion and national 100m record-holder Akani Simbine won their respective events making it the first double gold for South Africa in a Diamond League meeting this year.

Manyonga bounced back from an ankle injury he picked up in Lausanne to leap to a season’s best of 8.37 metres with compatriot Ruswahl Samaai bagging bronze with a jump of 8.11m.

Jamaican Tajay Gayle took an early lead with a personal-best leap of 8.32m before Manyonga produced his winning jump with his penultimate attempt.

“I was a little scared, and I was holding back at the start,” said Manyonga. “I needed to test my ankle as I was not sure I could handle it, but I told myself just to jump because this is where I was crowned world champion (in 2017).”

Simbine blitzed to only his second Diamond League title dipping ahead of a world-class field that included former world champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica and Olympic silver medallist Andre de Grasse of Canada.

The South African qualified for the Diamond League final thanks to the victory and his third-place finish in Shanghai earlier this year.

Simbine won his heat in a time of 10.01 seconds before burning up the London Stadium track racing to victory in a fast 9.93s with local favourite Zarnel Hughes finishing second in 9.95. Blake rounded off the podium, clocking 9.97.

“I’m really happy with the time,” Simbine said. “I came here to get the Diamond League points and make sure I get the win to build confidence, and (instead) I’ve come away with a season’s best.

“It’s always amazing running here, and I’m just pleased to come out healthy and finish on top.”

His time was just 0.04s off his national record from 2016 suggesting he was hitting form at with the World Championships looming in two months.

Yesterday Dominique Scott-Efurd ran a new personal best time of 14:59.08 in the women’s 5 000m to become only the second South African to dip below 15 minutes.

She chopped more than five seconds off her previous best finishing in 15th place.

7729578 1 - Golden delight for South Africa's Manyonga, Simbine
South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga competes in the men’s Long Jump event during the IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting at the London Stadium. Photo: EPA/Neil Hall



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