Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
13 May 2019
6:40 pm

Elite SA athletes to converge on Shanghai

Wesley Botton

The long jump will be a particularly interesting affair as a dynamic local trio front up.

Luvo Manyonga during the day 3 of the 2019 Sizwe Medical Fund & 3SixtyLife ASA Senior Track & Field and Combined Events Championships at Germiston Athletics Stadium on April 27, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)

A large South African contingent will turn out in Shanghai this weekend, with eight athletes being unveiled in the entry lists for the second leg of the Diamond League track and field series.

With some of their biggest rivals missing from the line-up, a South African trio are expected to dominate the men’s long jump.

World champion Luvo Manyonga will turn out as the favourite, but he is likely to face a strong challenge from two-time African champion Ruswahl Samaai.

And with countryman Zarck Visser regaining his best form in the early stages of the year, he too could put up a fight for a spot on the podium.

In the javelin throw, though she got her season off to a solid start by producing a heave of 61.22m during the recent domestic campaign, Sunette Viljoen will need to go bigger against an in-form field which includes three women who have already sent the spear sailing beyond 65 metres this year.

On the track, sprinter Akani Simbine will compete in his first 100m race of the year, after the Commonwealth Games champion had focussed on the 200m event during the local season.

And while he is expected to put up a fight, Simbine will have a tough battle on his hands, lining up alongside the likes of American speedsters Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles and Michael Rodgers.

While neither athlete has really shown his cards this season, with both of them skipping the World Relays in Yokohama last week, sprinters Clarence Munyai and Luxolo Adams will also be eager to make an impact.

They will enter the blocks in the men’s 200m race, facing a field which features world champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey.

Similarly, Antonio Alkana will hope to regain top form against a quality line-up in the men’s 110m hurdles race, after showing glimpses of his best on home soil.

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