SA long-jumper Luvo Manyonga at a practice session for the Diamond League Series. Photo: @Diamond_League on Twitter

PARIS – South African athletes turned in stellar performances from Bad Langensalza to Paris over the weekend.

Three-time world champion Caster Semenya dominated the headlines as she ran the fourth fastest 800m of all-time at the Paris Diamond League meeting by clocking 1:54.25 on Saturday evening.

Bringing the curtain down on a superb weekend for South African athletes, Rikenette Steenkamp smashed her own national 100m hurdles record at La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland yesterday.

Steenkamp chopped 0.1s off her previous record, crossing the line first in a time of 12.81.

Commonwealth Games 4x100m relay silver medallist Emile Erasmus came painstakingly close to becoming the sixth South African to dip below 10 seconds.

He clocked a new personal best of 10.01 in the 100m heats before winning the final with a time of 10.02.

On Saturday the South African long-jump trio of world champion Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai and Zarck Visser were in top form.

Cuban sensation Juan Miguel Echevarria continued his domination of the South Africans in winning the competition with a massive 8.68-metre jump. Manyonga leapt to second place with a best effort of 8.42m with Samaai bagging bronze with 8.40m on countback. It was a return to form for Visser who stopped just one centimetre shy of his personal best with an 8.40m leap.

In the headline race at the Paris Diamond League, South African 100m record holder Akani Simbine posted a season’s best of 9.94 seconds for fourth place.

Ronnie Baker of the United States claimed victory in a world lead of 9.88 with Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut following in second place with 9.91.

“For me it is progress, I started the season off with a 10.1 and now I am taking it down, taking it down with each race and I am happy with the progress I am making,” Simbine said. “I am content with where I am right now because the plan is for August and not now.

“I am just pleased that I am getting better and getting faster as every race comes.”

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South African 110m record holder Antonio Alkana posted a season’s best 13.31 in the heats at the Paris Diamond League meeting before finishing fourth in the final with 13.32.

Racing in the 100m B-final in Paris, Henricho Bruintjies finished third in 10.15 with Thando Roto crossing in sixth place with 10.23.


The Star

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