Luvo Manyonga led the charge for a small group of South African athletes at the fourth leg of the IAAF Diamond League Series in Rome on Thursday night.
Compatriots Ruswahl Samaai and Akani Simbine were also in the mix, but Manyonga’s flashy brilliance stole the show. These were the highlights…
Luvo Manyonga (long jump)
Taking revenge on Cuban teenager Juan Miguel Echevarria, who edged him out to win the world indoor title earlier this year, Manyonga delivered in style against a quality field.
Echevarria set a personal best of 8.53m in round two, but Manyonga sailed five centimetres further to take the win.
The South African athlete’s 8.58m effort was a 2018 world lead, and he fell just seven centimetres short of his own African record.
“Today was a tight competition but I was waiting for this. I met Echevarria last time at the world indoors, where he beat me, and I wanted to compete against him and give back. I am quite happy with this performance.” – Manyonga
Ruswahl Samaai (long jump)
Though he remains in search of a leap that will close the gap on his countryman, Samaai looks to be on the verge of his next career breakthrough.
One of the most consistent long jumpers on the international circuit, his series of leaps was again impressive.
After launching a second-round effort of 8.34m, which was good enough for third place, he produced further attempts of 8.03m, 8.11m and 8.26m.
Akani Simbine (100m)
Not at his best, trailing home in fifth place in 10.13, Simbine will take the lessons learned from this one and switch his focus to his next race, in the midst of a long season.
Ronnie Baker of the United States improved his own world season lead to secure a convincing victory, storming across the line in 9.93 as the only man in the field to dip under 10 seconds.