Ruswahl Samaai, Akani Simbine victorious in Europe
CAPE TOWN – It was another close-run thing, but South African long jump star Ruswahl Samaai emerged victorious once more in European action at the weekend.
The world championship bronze medallist, who kicked off his international season in style with a Diamond League triumph in Stockholm on August 23, took the honours in the Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria on Saturday night.
In driving rain, the 28-year-old leaped to a distance of 8.03m. That was matched by Swiss youngster Simon Ehammer, but Samaai’s second-best distance on the night was further than that of Ehammer, which handed him victory.
German Markus Rehm claimed third spot with 7.94m.
Samaai clinched the Stockholm gold medal with a last jump of 8.09m in the new Diamond League ‘mini-final’ format, despite Swede Thobias Montler producing two efforts of 8.13m earlier in the competition.
Meanwhile, sprint sensation Akani Simbine also began his European campaign in triumphant fashion in the 100m at a meeting in Marseille, France on Thursday night.
Simbine has had to hold his fire for a number of months due to the enforced coronavirus break, but has been building up to his return to the track at a training base in Gemona, Italy over the last few weeks.
The Olympic finalist was finally able to let rip at the European Continental Tour event, clocking 10.31 seconds to win his heat.
It was much tighter in the final, but the Commonwealth Games champion finished in 10.19 to beat Arthur Cisse of Ivory Coast (10.21) with American Mike Rodgers third with 10.27.
Simbine’s coach, Werner Prinsloo, said in a Tuks Sport statement: “What is important is to get Akani to execute what we have practised to perfection. When he does so, there is a real chance of it being a fast time.”
The 26-year-old will be back in action in Italy on Tuesday, before moving on to Switzerland for a race on September 15 and the Rome Diamond League on September 17.
At the same event, SA 110m hurdles champion Antonio Alkana ended fourth with a time of 13.81, with Spanish Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega winning in 13.15.