Luvo Manyonga once again flew the flag for South Africa at the Rome leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Italy on Thursday night, writes MARK ETHERIDGE.
Manyonga was one of just three South Africans in action, the others being fellow long jumper Ruswahl Samaai and sprinter Akani Simbine.
Both Manyonga and Samaai got onto the podium with the former once again laying down the marker with a world-lead performance.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games champion soared to a best-on-the-night 8.58 metre leap.
That was good enough to give him a 5cm victory margin over the up and coming teenager Juan Miguel Echevarria of Cuba, whose 8.53m was a personal best.
He had opened his evening with a 7.93m effort and the winning leap came in his very next jump.
And Samaai, a bronze medallist at both the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, rounded off the podium with 8.34m being his best distance of the night. Interesting to note is all three medallists’ best jumps came with their second attempts.
There was to be no podium for the third South African though as Simbine could only manage fifth place in the men’s 100m.
Like Manyonga, a defending Commonwealth Games champion, Simbine failed to power on in the final third of the race and had to settle for a time of 10.13sec, a full 0.10sec off his winning time in Australia last month.
The winner was American Ronny Baker, his 9.93sec a world lead and personal best. France’s Jimmy Vicaut was runner-up in 10.02 with young Italian Filippo Tortu third in 10.04.
Photo: Mayonga in gold-winning action in Rome, by Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images