Duelling jumpers headline golden night for South Africans in Zurich
Luvo Manyonga out-duelled countryman Ruswahl Samaai right at the death to snatch the Diamond League long-jump final during a nail-biting contest in Zurich on Thursday night.
Earlier‚ Caster Semenya won her third consecutive 800m Diamond League crown as she led from the start to clock 1:55.27 for a convincing win by more than two seconds.
But there was no coasting in the men’s long jump‚ where Manyonga took the lead in the first round with a jump of 8.32m.
When Samaai hit back with an identical 8.32m in the fourth round‚ he took the lead from his fellow countryman on countback because his second-best jump of 8.26m was 1cm further than Manyonga’s second-best effort.
But Manyonga‚ the reigning world champion from last year‚ bagged the victory with the final jump of the night – floating 8.36m to bag the $50‚000 first prize.
Semenya’s effort was more than a second slower than the 1:54.25 season’s best she clocked in Paris in July‚ but it still goes down as the third-fastest time of 2018.
“It was a long month of racing for me now‚” Semenya said. “I feel it on my body.”
American Ajee Wilson was second in the 800m‚ with a time of 1:57.86. Natoya Goule of Jamaica was third with 1:58.49‚ with Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi‚ the second-fastest athlete of the year‚ a distant sixth in 1:59.11.
Of the other South Africans in action‚ Cornel Fredericks had the best finish‚ finishing fifth in the men’s 400m hurdles.
Carina Horn (women’s 100m)‚ Luxolo Adams (men’s 200m) and Pieter Conradie (men’s 400m) were seventh‚ and Wenda Nel (women’s 400m hurdles) all ended eighth in their respective events.
Sprinter Akani Simbine will compete in Friday’s next round of Diamond League finals in Brussels.