Manyonga soars to world-leading mark in China

Luvo Manyonga
Luvo Manyonga
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

South Africa’s Commonwealth champion Luvo Manyonga of Port Elizabeth was the best of the rainbow nation’s four athletes at Saturday’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai, China.

In conditions made difficult by driving rain, his star shone brightest as he won long jump gold with a world-leading 8.56m. Prior to his winning leap on Saturday, he had a best effort of 8.43m at this competition.

Local hero Yuhao Shi had laid down a marker with an 8.43m second-jump effort before Manyonga squared things up. In trying to catch up to Manyonga, the Chinese athlete Shi landed awkwardly and screamed in pain, clutching his lower leg before being stretchered off.

Manyonga’s opener was an 8.11m effort and once again the prodigiously talented South African left his best efforts for his last jump.

Manyonga’s win mirrored his efforts here last year where he won by a healthy 40cm margin.

Earlier, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Wenda Nel had taken fourth place in the 400m hurdles.

She clocked 55.63 seconds as American Dalilah Muhammad won in 53.77 from Commonwealth champion Janieve Russell of Jamaica (53.78) with Canadian Sage Watson getting bronze in 55.23.

It was a personal best for Russell and a season’s best for Muhammad.

The other two SA athletes in action were Sunette Viljoen – a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist – in the javelin, and 800m specialist Rynardt van Rensburg, the only one of the group who wasn’t part of Team South Africa in Australia last month.

Neither had their best outing as Viljoen ended sixth with 60.79m her best of the night. The winner was local athlete Huihui Lyu who set a meeting record of 66.85m.

Van Rensburg ended eighth in the two-lapper with a time of 1 minute 46.57 seconds as Kenyan Wycliffe Kinyamal won in a meeting record 1:43.91. Van Rensburg’s best is the 1:45.33 he set at the Rio Olympics two years ago.