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Silver for Manyonga at his first World Indoors

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By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga added yet another medal to his growing collection with silver in the long jump at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England on Friday night.

Manyonga, crowed outdoor world champion, also in England (London) last year, had a best of 8.44 metres on the night.

But that was two centimetres shy of victory as Cuban teenager Juan Miguel Echevarria became the youngest world indoor gold medallist in the history of the championships, at just 19 years of age.

Manyonga started in out-of-sorts fashion after fouling in his opening two jumps but sprang into action with an 8.33m effort which put him into the lead.

But Echevarria responded immediately with an 8.36 to regain the lead.

Manyonga was now up for the fight and his next effort of 8.44 was yet another new Africa indoor record, his third in recent weeks.

The Cuban upstart then unleashed his 8.46 leap which would prove to be the winning jump of the night.

Manyonga fouled his final two attempts but was still upbeat considering his inexperience at this type of competition. ‘This is my first ever world indoors and only my third ever indoor event, so it means a lot to get a medal,’ the South African told the IAAF website.

South Africa’s other two competitors in the long jump pit were Ruswahl Samaai and veteran Khotso Mokoena who ended sixth and 14th respectively in the 15-strong field with efforts of 8.05 and 7.53, both being season’s bests.

Olympians Carina Horn and Dominique Scott were the other two South Africans in Friday action.

Horn (pictured third from left, above) was off first in the 60m heats where she ended second in the third heat, her time being 7.23sec, 0.04sec slower than Dutch powerhouse Dafne Schippers. With the first three in each heat going through automatically it was job done for the Austrian-based Horn.

She later lined up in the third and last semi-final where she ended third in 7.18 behind Sweden’s Mujinga Kambundji (7.10) and France’s Carolle Zahi (7.17). Only the first two in each semi-final were guaranteed a slot in the final, plus the next two fastest, meaning Horn missed out on the final by just 0.01sec.

The evening action saw Scott in action for her second race at her first World Indoor Championships after having run the 3000m final on Thursday where she ended ninth in a quality field.

United States-based Scott lined up with eight rivals in the second of three heats, the first two going through in each heat and the next three fastest also qualifying.

She ended fourth in 4:09.80 in a race won by Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech in 4:09.12 from American Colleen Quigley (4:09.31). Both qualified automatically as third place went to Canada’s Kate van Buskirk (4:09.42).

That saw Van Buskirk being the last of 10 qualifiers into the final meaning Scott was the first woman to miss out, from 25 athletes who started the heats.

Picture of Manyonga and fellow medal-winners on Friday courtesy of  Michael Steele/Getty Images for IAAF. Pictures of Horn and Scott courtesy of Adrian Dennis and Andy Astfalck respectively.


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