LARGE SA CONTINGENT AT LONDON DIAMOND LEAGUE
A group of six South African athletes will compete in London, England this weekend at the 10th leg of the IAAF Diamond League series.
Sprinter Akani Simbine, will join long jumpers Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai on Saturday’s programme, as the two-day meeting gets under way. Simbine will need to negotiate his way through heats for a place in the 100m final, but the SA record holder will turn out as one of the favourites.
Having run the fastest time in the field this year, boasting a Season’s Best (SB) of 9.95 seconds, he is expected to face challenges from the likes of former world champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica and the European champion, Zarnel Hughes of Great Britain
Manyonga, who has leaped 8.35m this year and Samaai, who has posted an SB of 8.21m, are among five men in the field who have sailed beyond 8.20m in 2019.
Though the long jump event will not form part of the official IAAF Diamond League series, an exciting battle is on the cards, with the line-up including world indoor champion Juan Miguel Echevarria of Cuba and European Championships gold medallist Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece.
On Sunday, distance runner Dominique Scott-Efurd is in the entry lists, along with hurdlers Antonio Alkana and Wenda Nel. Scott-Efurd will toe the line against a strong field in the women’s 5 000m race which features in-form European champion Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya.
In the women’s 400m hurdles race, Nel will be eager to find her best form, with the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist entering the blocks against American athlete Kori Carter and Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic, who have won the last three world titles between them.
While his discipline will not be considered for IAAF Diamond League points, national record holder Alkana will also look to change gears in the second half of the season.
He will face a line-up which features European champion Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France and Olympic gold medallist Omar McLeod of Jamaica, who have run under 13 secs in their careers.
Schedule of SA athletes (SA times):
2.15pm – long jump, men (Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai)
3.45pm – 100m heats, men (Akani Simbine)
4.50pm – 100m final, men (Simbine)*
3.56pm – 5 000m, women (Dominique Scott-Efurd)
4.29pm – 400m hurdles, women (Wenda Nel)
4.39pm – 110m hurdles, men (Ruswahl Samaai)
* Simbine will compete in the final if he progresses beyond the heats
“The show goes on for South Africa’s preparations for the World Championships and it is also an important leg for each of the athletes as they contest for important points in the Diamond League series,” said Aleck Skhosana, the President of Athletics South Africa.