Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG – Shanghai was the slaughterhouse and Luvo Manyonga was the butcher, breaking the Diamond League record to establish himself as the top long jumper in the world.

The South African landed another mammoth 8.61m jump kicking sand in the eyes of a quality field which included Olympic champion Jeff Henderson of the United States.

Henderson leapt past Manyonga at last year’s global showpiece in Rio de Janeiro on his last jump to wrestle the gold medal from the South African.

There can no longer be any doubt Manyonga is the real deal as he once again produced the goods on the big stage.

The victory over Henderson should serve as some sort of consolation for last year’s one-centimetre defeat to the American at the Olympic Games.

“The track was really fast and that made it difficult and I did a few fouls, and that was a distraction,” Manyonga told the IAAF website.

“I didn’t get the distance I wanted today as I was looking for 8.80m, but I know it will come.”

Manyonga leapt to a new South African record of 8.62m at the Gauteng North Championships in Pretoria in March before extending it by three centimetres at the national championships in Potchefstroom last month.

“I am pleased to win again, my success has been down to hard work, training, dedication and commitment,” Manyonga said.

“I hope now to just go on and win everything I can this season.”

Manyonga opened the competition with a new meeting record of 8.48m, before extending his lead by a centimetre on his third attempt after a no jump on his second.

Failing to record legal jumps on his fourth and fifth attempts, Manyonga unleashed the 8.61m leap for an emphatic victory.

The Chinese duo of Gao Xinglong and Huang Changzhou claimed the silver and bronze medals with jumps of 8.22m and 8.20m respectively.

Fellow South African Ruswahl Samaai finished in fifth place with a top jump of 8.18m while former national record-holder Khotso Mokoena had to be content with eighth place with 7.85m.

Earlier, South African 400m hurdles record-holder LJ van Zyl earned his second Diamond League podium finish of the season when he finished second in his specialist event.

Van Zyl dipped at the line in a time of 49.35 seconds behind American Bershawn Jackson, who blitzed to a meet record of 48.63. Rasmus Magi of Estonia rounded off the podium.


The Star

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