JOHANNESBURG – Ruswahl Samaai won the long jump at the Rabat Diamond League meeting on Sunday night to send out a strong signal that he will be a medal contender at next month’s IAAF World Championships.
“Rabat is like a second home for me, I hold the meeting record and I wanted to improve that today,” Samaai told the Diamond League website after clinching victory with a best leap of 8.35m.
“I am really jumping well at the moment, and I’m hoping to keep in good shape, and stay healthy.”
Samaai once again produced a good sequence of jumps, opening with an 8.21m effort to take the lead. American Jarrion Lawson leapfrogged past the South African with a second-round attempt of 8.33m, with Samaai responding with 8.31m.
Samaai then demonstrated his never-say-die attitude by reclaiming the lead with the winning jump of 8.35m in the third round. Sitting out the fourth round, he completed his sequence with jumps of 8.24m and 8.13m.
Ranked second in the world this year behind compatriot Luvo Manyonga, Samaai boasts a season’s best of 8.49m.
Bringing South Africa’s evening to a close, Olympic 800m gold medallist Caster Semenya backed into the blocks in the 400m.
Taking a measured approach to the sprint distance, Semenya was soon left behind, with Olympic champion Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas racing home in 48.80. Semenya crossed the line in seventh place, posting a season’s best of 51.53.
While Semenya’s time in the one-lap event may not be giving the top sprinters sleepless nights, she holds the world lead in her specialist 800m event.
Semenya boasts the fastest two-lap time this season with the 1:56.61 she ran at the Doha Diamond League in May.
The South African contingent seem to be stuck in fifth place, with Wenda Nel, Clarence Munyai and Thando Roto all missing out on podium finishes.
Racing against some of the world’s best half-lap sprinters, national junior 200m record-holder Munyai held his own in his favourite event.
Munyai crossed the line in a time of 20.31, with Rio Olympic silver medallist Andre de Grasse winning in 20.03.
Battling to regain his early-season form, Roto finished fifth at his first Diamond League race, posting a time of 10.26. Roto looked off balance out of the blocks and battled to get the ascendancy, with Great Britain’s Ujah Chijindu winning the race in a time of 9.98.
Wenda Nel could not repeat her podium finish from London last Sunday as she stopped the clock in 55.31 in the 400m hurdles.