Athletics 18.8.2018 05:55 pm

Manyonga flaunts form ahead of Diamond League finals

South Africa's Luvo Manyonga competes in the men's long jump during the 2018 IAAF Birmingham Diamond League athletics meeting at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on August 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL

South Africa's Luvo Manyonga competes in the men's long jump during the 2018 IAAF Birmingham Diamond League athletics meeting at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on August 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL

South Africa’s long jump kingpin leaps his way to a meeting record in Birmingham.

Though his discipline did not carry top-flight status, long jumper Luvo Manyonga was the best of the South African contingent on Saturday, securing a convincing victory at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham.

Competing ahead of the main programme, Manyonga fired a warning at his opponents ahead of the Diamond League finals to be held later this month, launching a meeting record of 8.53m with his fourth attempt to finish more than 30 centimetres clear of his nearest opponent, Tajay Gayle of Jamaica (8.17m).

Fellow long jumper Zarck Visser was the only other SA athlete to finish among the top five at the meeting, taking fourth place with a 7.90m effort.

Sprinter Akani Simbine was not at his best, clocking 10.09 to settle for sixth spot in the men’s 100m final after winning his heat earlier in the day in 10.07, while countryman Ncinci Titi was unable to reach the last eight.

Wenda Nel continued to struggle in the latter stages of the season, ending sixth in the women’s 400m hurdles race in 57.51.

Antonio Alkana was also below par, crossing the line in sixth place in his 110m hurdles heat in 13.59, missing out on a place in the last eight by 0.04.

Distance runner Dom Scott-Efurd was 17th and last in the women’s 3 000m contest in 9:01.64.

Seven SA athletes were set to compete in the Diamond League finals, to be held in Zurich and Brussels on August 30 and 31, after finishing the 12-leg league campaign among the top eight in the points standings of their events.

They included Manyonga, Simbine, Nel, long jumper Ruswahl Samaai, middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, and sprinters Carina Horn and Luxolo Adams.

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