London — South African athlete Luvo Manyonga ruled the sand pit at the London Stadium on Sunday once again‚ taking first place in the Anniversary Games ahead of countryman Ruswahl Samaai.
Manyonga won the 2017 world championships here as well as the inaugural World Cup last weekend‚ and he keeps getting better.
He triumphed at the 2017 world championships with an 8.48m effort‚ the World Cup with 8.51m and on Sunday he launched himself to an 8.58m meet record that also matched his season’s best from May.
"This is like my second home‚ I won the world champs here," said Manyonga.
For Samaai‚ the bronze medallist in London in 2017‚ his 8.42 was a season’s best and equalled the second best leap of his career. Behind them was the who’s who of long-jumping. Third was the 2017 world championship silver medallist, Jarrion Lawson of the US‚ Australia’s Commonwealth Games silver medallist Henry Frayne and Olympic champion Jeff Henderson‚ another American.
First Diamond League victory
This was also Manyonga’s first Diamond League victory since winning in Rome nearly two months ago‚ when he last went 8.58m. In June, he went through three competitions without victory — his first failures to win outdoors since the 2016 Rio Games. Each time Cuban Juan Miguel Echevarria finished top‚ in Stockholm‚ Ostrava and Bad Langensalza.
At two of those events Echevarria‚ who also got the better of Manyonga at the world indoor championships earlier in 2018‚ went 8.68m and 8.66m‚ further than Manyonga’s 8.65m personal best.
But Manyonga does not believe he and coach Bradley Agnew need to devise any special plan to battle the new rival for his crown as the world’s best. "I don’t close any gap on the Cuban‚ I just do my job‚ what I’m supposed to do."
Samaai‚ the African long-jump champion from 2016‚ and runner-up Manyonga return to the continental championships in Nigeria from August 1-5.
But at the end of August the duo are scheduled to face the Cuban in the Diamond League long-jump final in Zurich.
Then there will be the 2019 world championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Earlier‚ Rikenette Steen-kamp’s chances of making the 100m hurdles final effectively ended when she hit the first obstruction in her heat.
"I’m not happy with it‚" said Steenkamp‚ who ended fifth in 13.05sec with US world record-holder Kendra Harrison winning in 12.50sec.
In the men’s 110m hurdles Antonio Alkana was fifth in 13.40sec‚ well behind the winner‚ Jamaica’s Commonwealth Games champion Ronald Levy in 13.13sec.