International Athletics

Semenya, Manyonga fly SA flag in Zurich

2017-08-25 06:52
Caster Semenya (AP)

Zurich - Caster Semenya and Luvo Manyonga were in top form on Thursday evening, adding IAAF Diamond League series crowns to the respective world titles they recently won in London.

Middle-distance runner Semenya and long jumper Manyonga both won their specialist disciplines at the first of two finals in the Diamond League series in Zurich, Switzerland.

Semenya, who lifted the Diamond League season crown last year, secured another convincing victory in the 800m women race, crossing the line in 1:55.84.

Perennial rival Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi again finished second, completing the two-lap battle in 1:56.71, with Kenyan Margaret Wambui bouncing back to form with a personal best of 1:56.87 in third place.

Manyonga was equally dominant, holding off countryman Ruswahl Samaai, who grabbed second spot.

Samaai took the early lead with a leap of 8.14m in the first round, but Manyonga moved in front in round two with a jump of 8.31m.

Manyonga went on to extend his advantage with a fourth round effort of 8.49m, while Samaai also improved to 8.31m to settle for the runner-up spot behind his compatriot.

Former Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokoena ended ninth, reaching 7.13m with his only legal attempt.

Manyonga joins Mokoena and Semenya as the only South African athletes to have won Diamond League titles in any discipline.

Akani Simbine stormed to sixth place in the 100m men dash in 10.10, while in the 400m hurdles LJ van Zyl (49.92) and 400m sprinter Pieter Conradie (46.45) settled for seventh position in their respective events.

In the 400m women hurdles, which was not a Diamond League final, Wenda Nel ended sixth in 55.86.

Former world champion, Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic, won the contest in 54.13.

The 14th and final leg of the Diamond League series, which will incorporate the season deciders in 16 remaining disciplines, will be held in Brussels, Belgium on September 1.


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