South Africa's Luvo Manyonga leaps into the air during the long jump final at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham on Friday night. Photo: Matt Dunham/AP

South African long jump superstar Luvo Manyonga had to settle for silver at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham on Friday night after he was beaten to gold by Cuban teenager Juan Miguel Echevarria.

In a dramatic finish to the long jump competition, Manyonga fouled in four of his six jumps, including his last two attempts.

Last year’s outdoor world champion took the lead in round four, though, with a new African indoor record mark of 8.44m.

But 19-year-old Echevarria made history with an incredible leap of 8.46m in round five to take the lead and snatch the gold medal from Manyonga’s grasp, and thereby becoming the youngest ever world indoor champion in a field event.

Defending world indoor champion, American Marquis Dendy, produced a spectacular jump in round five as well to secure a bronze medal with a distance of 8.42m – meaning that the three medallists were separated by just 4cm.

Manyonga’s teammate, outdoor world bronze medallist Ruswahl Samaai, finished sixth in 8.05m, while the third South African competing, Khotso Mokoena, ended 14th in 7.53m.


IOL Sport