Team SA to Zurich will be spearheaded by world long-jump champion Luvo Manyonga. Photo: Christine Ohlsson/EPA

JOHANNESBURG – Four South African athletes will be competing at the first Diamond League final in Zurich where they will be looking to claim the overall title today. 

The team will be spearheaded by world long-jump champion Luvo Manyonga who will aim to claim his third consecutive Diamond Trophy. The feat would make him the most successful long jumper in the history of the series as no athlete has won more than two overall titles in the event. He will share the sandpit with African champion Ruswahl Samaai and former Commonwealth Games silver medallist Zarck Visser, who boasts a world-leading jump of 8.41m. 

Manyonga faces possibly his biggest challenge of the last three seasons in the form of Cuban phenom Juan Miguel Echevarria. Echevarria leads the long-jump competition after topping the podium at two Diamond League meetings this season.

Manyonga has had to play second fiddle to Echevarria whenever they have competed - he won the London Diamond League title in the absence of the Cuban.

African and Commonwealth Games 100m champion Akani Simbine will back into the blocks in the sprint event with the hope clinching his maiden Diamond Trophy.

American athlete Christian Coleman, the world’s fastest man over the last two seasons will cast a shadow over the 100m race after recent revelations that he faced a ban for missing three drug tests. Coleman will face an arbitration hearing next Wednesday and is not on the start list for tonight’s Diamond League meeting.

His absence boosts Simbine’s chances of claiming the title, but the SA record holder will still line up against a world-class field.

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Simbine will have to outsprint Americans Noah Lyles and world champion Justin Gatlin, while Jamaican Yohan Blake is also in top form.

SA’s fastest man won the London Diamond League race, posting a season’s best 9.93 seconds. He clocked a pedestrian - for his standards - 10.15secs at the Birmingham leg of the series where he finished in seventh place.


The Star

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