Sprinter Akani Simbine and long jumper Luvo Manyonga picked up their first Diamond League victories of the season, as the South African contingent opened the two-day Anniversary Games meeting in London with a bang on Saturday.
After winning his 100m heat in 10.01 seconds, Simbine went on to take the final in 9.93, slicing 0.02 off his season’s best.
Getting off to a good start, the Commonwealth Games champion was able to change gears in the chase for the line, holding off a challenge from European champion Zarnel Hughes of Great Britain.
Hughes crossed the line in 9.95, with Simbine dragging five men under the 10-second barrier in a hard-fought battle.
“It’s mostly about building the confidence at the moment and making sure I get through the races and win them, so by the time I get to the World Championships (in Doha in September) and I’m facing the rest of the world, I’ll be ready,” Simbine said.
Earlier, though he did not earn series points as the long jump was not a Diamond League event at the London meeting, Manyonga landed at 8.37m in the fifth round.
He added two centimetres to his season’s best, edging out Jamaican athlete Tajay Gayle who leaped 8.32m.
African champion Ruswahl Samaai, who produced a jump of 8.11m, took third position.
Manyonga and Samaai delivered a consistent series of leaps, with both men sailing beyond eight metres from five of their six attempts.
Hurdlers Antonio Alkana and Wenda Nel were set to turn out on Sunday, along with distance runner Dom Scott-Efurd, on the second and final day of the annual meeting in the English capital.