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Two SA world champions in action in Zurich

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By Mark Etheridge

Two of South Africa’s three recently crowned world champions will be in IAAF Diamond League action in Zurich, Switzerland, on Thursday evening.

Champion Luvo Manyonga and London bronze medallist Ruswahl Samaai are in long jump action at the Weltklasse meeting, and they’ll be joined by 2008 Olympic silver medallist Khotso Mokoena.

Manyonga’s already had one world-attempt leap in the rarified air of the French Alps, but high winds dashed any chance.

Mokoena’s still not firing on all cylinders this year, but it’s often the case in meetings following a World Championships that the pressure to win is off, and – in Manyonga’s case anyway – record attempts are very much on.

South Africa’s other world champion is Caster Semenya, and the two-time world 800m champion is looking to be in the shape of her life after she ran a personal best 1min 55.16sec in the two-lap final.

South Africa’s gold medallist, Wayde van Niekerk, pulled out of the 400m event in Zurich last week already, citing the recurrence of a back problem.

In Akani Simbine, South Africa also have another World Championships finalist in the 100m.

First up though, will be Wenda Nel in the 400m hurdles. She progressed to the semi-final of her event in London.

Three-time Olympian LJ van Zyl will be looking to convert a frustrating season to fruition in the 400m hurdles.

This year’s worlds were the first time the Pretoria hurdler hasn’t been part of a SA team to a global event in 16 years, after being overlooked by selectors. He’ll be looking to show why he should have been in London.

Final SA runner in action is Pieter Conradie in the flat 400m. There was evidently some dissatisfaction with the fact that he swopped Taiwan (venue for World Student Games currently in progress) for Zurich, and we may hear more of that in days to come.

Line-up of SA athletes in Zurich action on Thursday night (SA times)
20:05pm – Wenda Nel (400m hurdles)
20:45pm – Ruswahl Samaai, Luvo Manyonga, Khotso Mokoena (long jump)
20:49pm – LJ van Zyl (400m hurdles)
20:58pm – Caster Semenya (800m)
21:08pm – Akani Simbine (100m)
21:43pm – Pieter Conradie (400m)

Action will be screened live on Supersport Eight from 19:45pm.

Picture of Semenya after winning at last year’s Zurich meeting courtesy of Fabrice Coffrin/AFP/Getty Images

 


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