Long jump stars Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai delivered in style on Saturday evening, earning two medals for the South African team during a spectacular session of Track and Field action on the second day of the IAAF World Championships in London.
Manyonga launched a best leap of 8.48m in the second round to earn the gold medal, and Samaai finished third with a final attempt of 8.32m.
“I feel awesome! It’s a great feeling to be a world champion,” Manyonga said. “This is not the end. We’re still going to show the world what South Africa is made of.”
Samaai was equally delighted to join his countryman on the podium. “This is the beginning of something great. Let’s just hope this can carry us forward,” he said.
On the track, Akani Simbine charged to fifth place in the Men’s 100m final, again holding his own against the best sprinters in the world in the sport’s blue ribbon event.
He crossed the line in 10.01, with American Justin Gatlin securing the title in 9.92.
“I’m very happy to have made it to the final, and I’m happy with the race,” said Simbine, who is set to compete in the 200m event later in the week. Earlier, Simbine had won his 100m semifinal in 10.05.
Caster Semenya coasted into the Women’s 1 500m final, taking third position in her semifinal in 4:03.80.
“The race was great. It was all about getting into the final, so we’re happy with the outcome. Now it’s about going back, resting and preparing for the final.”
Earlier, sprinters Wayde van Niekerk and Carina Horn were the star performers in the morning session. Van Niekerk, the defending 400m champion, won his heat comfortably in 45.27 seconds, progressing to Sunday’s semifinals.
There was disappointment for countryman Pieter Conradie, however, who crossed the line in seventh place in his heat in 46.22 and was knocked out in the opening round.
Horn, meanwhile, overcame a brief spell of rain to grab third spot in her 100m heat in 11.28. She made it through to the penultimate round of the short dash, to be held on Sunday evening.
Shot putters Orazio Cremona and Jaco Engelbrecht were both eliminated in the qualifying round, while Cremona produced a best heave of 19.81m from his three attempts and Engelbrecht delivered a best effort of 19.59m.