Manyonga leads SA four in quest for gold in Shanghai

Luvo Manyonga
Luvo Manyonga
Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Worlds champion Luvo Manyonga will lead a group of four South African athletes today as they take on some of the best in the world in their respective disciplines at the second of 14 legs in the IAAF Diamond League series in Shanghai, China.

Manyonga, who won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia last month, will open his Diamond League campaign in the long jump.

He will have a battle on his hands, however, with the lineup also featuring Olympic champion Jeff Henderson of the United States and 19-year-old world indoor champion Juan Miguel Echevarria of Cuba.

Two other Commonwealth Games medallists will form part of the SA contingent this weekend, with Sunette Viljoen turning out in the javelin throw women and Wenda Nel competing in the 400m hurdles race.
Viljoen, who stepped on the Commonwealth podium for the fourth successive edition of the Games by taking bronze, will fancy her chances against the likes of former world champion Katharina Molitor and Chinese athlete HuiHui Lyu.

Nel, who also earned bronze at the Gold Coast Games, will go into the blocks against a worldclass field that includes American athlete Dalilah Muhammad, the Olympic champion, as well as Jamaican athlete Janieve Russell, who won gold at the Commonwealth showpiece.

Rynardt van Rensburg, the last of the South Africans in action, will also be confident of putting up a fight in the 800m men’s race.

Though some of the world's top two-lap stars are giving the event a miss, Van Rensburg will line up against a handful of worthy opponents including Polish athlete Marcin Lewandowski and two-time world indoor championships medallist Andrew Osagie of Great Britain.