Akani Simbine is all smiles after winning the men's 100 meters race final at the IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting at London. Photo: Tim Ireland/AP Photo

LONDON – South Africa's 100m champion Akani Simbine surprised himself by clocking  a 'season best' in London at Saturday's Day 1 of the IAAF Diamond League meeting.

Simbine was in superb form in the men's 100m event, picking up valuable IAAF Diamond League points at the 10th leg of the series.

First, he coasted to victory in his heat in 10.01 seconds, and Simbine returned to the track an hour later to win the final in a 'season best' (SB) of 9.93.

Local favourite Britain's Zarnel Hughes finished second in 9.95 and former world champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica was third in 9.97.

"I'm really happy with the time," Simbine said. "I came here to get the Diamond League points and make sure I get the win to build confidence, and (instead) I've come away with a Season's Best.  

"It's always amazing running here and I'm just pleased to come out healthy and finish on top."

In the men's long jump, which was not an official IAAF Diamond League discipline at the two-day meeting, SA's Luvo Manyonga also produced his best result of the year.

Shaking off an ankle niggle, the world champion won the long jump with a SB of 8.37m, with countryman Ruswahl Samaai holding on for third position with a leap of 8.11m.

Manyonga and Samaai were separated in the results by Jamaican athlete Tajay Gayle, who took second place with a personal best of 8.32m.

"I was a little scared and I was holding back at the start," said Manyonga, who delivered his winning jump in the fifth round.

"At the beginning, I needed to test my ankle as I was not sure I could handle it, but I told myself to just jump because this is where I was crowned world champion (in 2017)."

Three more South African athletes are scheduled to compete on Sunday's second and final day of competition.

Antonio Alkana is on the start lists for the men's 110m hurdles race.

Wenda Nel will line up in the women's 400m hurdles contest.

Dominique Scott-Efurd is among the entries in the women's 5 000m event.

“We are happy for the achievements of the day from our athletes, especially noting that they upped their performances. We congratulate the athletes and their coaches for the hard work that has paid off.

“We look forward to another opportunity for the remaining athletes who contest for points and better performances on Sunday,” said Aleck Skhosana, the president of Athletics South Africa.

Sunday's SA details:
3.56pm - 5 000m, women (Dominique Scott-Efurd)
4.29pm - 400m hurdles, women (Wenda Nel)
4.39pm - 110m hurdles, men (Antonio Alkana)  

African News Agency (ANA)