JOHANNESBURG – Long-jump king Luvo Manyonga added the Commonwealth crown to his world title with Ruswahl Samaai finishing third to give South Africa a gold-bronze double on Wednesday.
Making his Commonwealth debut, Manyonga again proved his star status leaping to a new Games record of 8.41m.
“It is a medal in the bag and I am going to go back home and start working again because I am like a normal person going back to work and going to the office,” Manyonga said.
“It is very important winning the gold medal at my first Commonwealth Games and the record as it was on my bucket list and now I still have the Continental Cup as a box to tick.”
Manyonga moved to the top of the pile with his opening jump of 8.24m with Samaai in second place with his first attempt of 8.22m.
World champion Manyonga was briefly relegated to silver-medal position thanks to Aussie Henry Frayne’s second-round jump of 8.33m.
Manyonga recorded a no-jump on his third attempt before moving back into first place with a new Commonwealth record of 8.35m.
The South African highlighted his class on his final jump landing on 8.41m to extend the Games mark adding the Commonwealth gold to his Olympic silver.
Samaai again had to play second fiddle to his compatriot as he battled with consistency on the night winning his second consecutive Commonwealth bronze.
“I came here with a lot of expectations knowing I am capable of jumping big but unfortunately I didn’t tonight,” Samaai said. “But I am always happy getting a medal, coming to the Commonwealth Games I had the bronze from 2014 and I wanted to upgrade it to gold or silver.
“Unfortunately, it is part of sport, you win some, you lose some and you just have to keep your head up high and get back to the drawing board.”
Javelin queen Sunette Viljoen highlighted her class winning her fourth consecutive medal at the Commonwealth Games adding her first bronze to the collection.
The South African javelin queen now boasts a golden pair from Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010, silver from Glasgow 2014 and now the bronze.
The Olympic silver medallist once again proved her temperament for the big moment winning the medal in only her second competition of her season with an opening heave of 62.08 metres.
“I only had one competition before the Commonwealth Games, I couldn’t have done anything more technical wise,” Viljoen said. “I prepared to the best of my ability and what my body was capable of, and so you can’t be unreasonable.
“I am so happy that I walk away with my bronze, I am very proud, I just need to get my timing which will slowly come back working towards the Doha World Championships next year.”
She failed to land throws of above 60 metres with her remaining five attempts as she hung on to silver until the very last round.
Kathryn Mitchell produced the goods in front of her home crowd pretty much wrapping up the gold with her throw with a mammoth 68.92m as the rest of the field battled to breach the 60-metre mark.
With her throws falling just short of 60 metres, Viljoen had Australian Kelsey-Lee Roberts breathing down her neck with a best attempt of 60.81m.
Roberts relegated Viljoen to third place with a final heave of 63.89m with the South African unable to match the throw.
Paralympic javelin throw gold medallist Reinhardt Hamman added to the athletics medal tally winning the silver medal in the men’s F38 shot-put final with a best heave of 13.15m.
Hamman finished third behind Austrians Cameron Crombie and Marty Jackson, who won gold and silver with 15.74m and 13.74m respectively.
“I am thrilled with the result, I was pushing for the silver medal and I wasn’t too far, I’ve been throwing around 14 metres in training back home,” Hamman said. “We can go home with our heads held high. To be included in the Commonwealth Games which is a predominantly able-bodied event is a real eye-opener for all of us as Para-athletes.
“I don't feel like a para-athlete, I feel like an able-bodied athlete and we can just hope the Commonwealth Games Federation can include more para events in future.”