Led by Luvo Manyonga and Antonio Alkana, South Africa’s track and field stars continued to shine on the international scene with more medals at the annual FBK Games in Hengelo, the Netherlands, on Sunday.
There were victories for Manyonga and Alkana in the long jump and 110-metre hurdles respectively, while Manyonga’s fellow long jumper Ruswahl Samaai and sprinters Anaso Jobodwana and Carina Horn also got themselves on to the podium.
Manyonga is looking a hot favourite for gold at next month’s IAAF World Championships in London and showed why on Sunday.
He opened with an 8.60m, followed by leaps of 8.40 and 8.46m before the best jump of the day, an 8.62m.
It’s the first time since 2009 that the long jump event has featured two leaps of 8.60 or longer in the same series.
There was a silver medal for Ruswahl Samaai as the Commonwealth Games medallist leapt 8.34m for second spot, while yet another South African, Zarck Visser, took sixth in 7.88m.
‘Luvo’s so far averaging 8.59m when competing,’ said a proud Neil Cornelius who coaches him at Tuks.
Cornelius ascribes the slight ‘lapse’ in the middle of his series to the fact that Manyonga flourishes under pressure. ‘The reason why he managed to jump 8.62m with his last attempt, was that the other athletes were upping their act and starting to jump further, which motivated him.
‘I have no doubt that Luvo is capable of jumping much further. It is a case of the better his rivals perform the better he will do. That really big jump is definitely going to happen.’
Alkana built on his SA record of 13.11sec last week with victory, albeit in a slower time of 13.47 to beat France’s Aurel Manga into second spot by 0.02sec.
’It went okay, not my best run but I’m happy with the win,’ said Alkana after the victory. ‘Conditions were fine up to when we left the warm-up to go on to the track and then it started to drizzle while we were setting the blocks. But I ran an okay race.
‘I had to work hard for the win even though it was a slower race.’
On the track London Olympics 200m finalist Jobodwana ran an encouraging 20.62 as Britain’s Daniel Talbot won in 20.36.
And the final podium place for South Africa went to Carina Horn.
Up against powerful Dutch crowd favourite and world 200m champion Dafne Skippers, Horn held her own to take third in 11.35 behind Skippers (11.08) and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare (11.16).
Also competing at the Games was javeliner Jo-Ané van Dyk, who took sixth. ‘I know the big throws will come and am still satisfied with sixth place and a distance of 54.33m,’ she said.
‘My rhythm is slowly starting to come right. I was a bit awestruck with all the people I was competing against, but it was still an unbelievably great experience.
‘After World Junior, World Youth and Youth Olympics it was my biggest meeting yet. This was just ‘bigger’ in the sense that I was throwing against girls who compete in the Diamond League, like Kathrina Molitor [she won with 63.90m], who has medalled at World Championships.’
She’s next in action in the Golden Spike meeting in Leiden, Germany on Saturday.
– See more at: http://www.sascoc.co.za/2017/06/12/manyonga-alkana-grab-gold-for-sa-at-fbk-games/#sthash.fpe6JxFN.dpuf