You simply can’t keep a good man down. So proved Luvo Manyonga, when he soared to his second national long jump record of the season as the SA senior track and field championships wound down in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
The Rio silver medallist set a packed Kenneth McArthur Athletics Stadium in Potchefstroom alive, and bettered his own continental mark by three centimetres, when he leapt to a massive 8.65 metre effort on his opening attempt.
It was also to be his last attempt, as he pulled out with a slight niggle to his hamstring.
‘I’m pleased with the gold medal, but the focus is not on the SA Championships. The focus is on the World Championships in London later this year,’ said Manyonga, who earned his first national senior title.
Commonwealth Games silver medallist in Glasgow three years ago, Ruswahl Samaai took second place by producing a personal best of 8.49m
Later in the action-filled day, 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk turned the tables on good friend Akani Simbine, who had beaten him to the 100m gold medal on the opening day on Friday.
Van Niekerk won the 200m final in 19.90, crossing the line 0.25 ahead of Simbine. ‘It’s a long season, so I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself,’ said Van Niekerk, who eased off before the finishing line and missed Anaso Jobodwana’s national record by just 0.03sec.
‘We all know the goals now are the World Championships and the European season, so we’re just trying to look after ourselves and maintain our bodies, so we can represent South Africa well on the international circuit.’
Caster Semenya (pictured below) successfully defended her SA 400m and 800m titles, winning both finals in the space of less than two hours.
After taking the 400m in 51.60, she drew clear of a determined 21-year-old Gena Lofstrand to win the 800m title in 2:01.03.
Lofstrand, who stayed with the Olympic champion until the final bend, took second position in 2:03.32, and Anuscha Nice, who also produced a brave effort by holding on to end up third in 2:05.88.
‘I’m quite happy with where I am now,’ Semenya said. ‘I’m not worried about the international season at this stage. I’m just focused on my training.’
Sprinter Alyssa Conley also defended two titles, winning the 200m final in 22.94 to add to the 100m crown she had lifted on Friday.
Orazio Cremona (right) delivered the performance of his career, smashing his personal best by 49 centimetres to win the men’s shot put with a heave of 21.12m, with 2015 African Games team member Jaco Engelbrecht also securing a PB of 20.63 for the silver medal.
In the women’s 100m hurdles, Rikenette Steenkamp narrowly missed out breaking the 13-second barrier by setting a PB of 13.02, and Tiaan Smit stunned defending champion Antonio Alkana to win the men’s high hurdles in 13.42.
Ischke Senekal picked up double gold as she won the women’s discus with a best attempt of 51.92m, after taking the shot put gold the day before, and 43-year-old Chris Harmse closed out the annual championships with an astounding 22nd successive national hammer throw title, with a 70.53m heave.
All pictures courtesy of Roger Sedres/ImageSA
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