Double delight for SA jumpers and Bolt gets his first bronze
Long-jumpers Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai landed South Africa’s first-ever double podium finish at the world championships in London last night.
Minutes later Akani Simbine ended fifth in a spectacular men’s 100m final where veteran Justin Gatlin and his compatriot Christian Coleman pushed Usain Bolt into third place, the first bronze of his glittering career.
Gatlin, the winner in 9.92sec who served a four-year ban for doping, was booed by the crowd when he was introduced and again after his victory was confirmed.
But Bolt, third in 9.95, hugged his 35-year-old rival. Coleman was second in 9.94, while Simbine clocked 10.01.Manyonga took the long-jump gold and Samaai the bronze to open the country’s medal count, but the pair, who both hail from Paarl in the Western Cape, did it so differently.
Olympic silver medallist Manyonga, after being red-flagged for over-stepping on his first attempt, blasted into the lead with a rocket-propelled 8.48m on his second attempt.
That proved to be the winning effort, just 5cm ahead of American Jarrion Lawson.
Making his victory even more incredible is that he hadn’t competed since injuring the ankle of his left lead-off leg in mid-June.
He had exactly one jump in the qualification round on Friday night, and on his second attempt last night he had conquered the world.
Samaai, on the other hand, had to sweat for his bronze.
He opened on 8.25m, but was soon pushed into fourth and then fifth. Samaai had to wait until the fifth round before improving to 8.27, which equalled Russian Aleksandr Menkov, but the South African moved ahead on countback with fewer no-jumps. Both men have jumped their way out of poverty, although Manyonga has had the bigger roller-coaster ride.