Thanks to a massive final-round leap of 8.61m, in-form South African long jumper Luvo Manyonga improved the IAAF Diamond League record by seven centimetres to highlight the field events action in Shanghai on Saturday (13).
The 26-year-old arrived in Shanghai in strong spirits having twice bettered the African record twice this year, extending it to 8.65m.
In spite of facing a quality field that included Olympic champion Jeff Henderson of the United States and Australia’s 2016 Diamond Trophy winner Fabrice Lapierre, Manyonga showed his dominance in Shanghai from the first round, leaping 8.48m to beat the meeting record of 8.44m set by Australia's Mitchell Watt in 2011.
After a foul in the second round, he further improved to 8.49m with his third attempt. Although he fouled again in the following two rounds, Manyonga had already sealed the title before his final jump. But he refused to call it a day. Stepping confidently on the runway, he produced his winning mark of 8.61m to shatter Watt’s IAAF Diamond League record set in Stockholm six years ago.
“I didn't get the distance I wanted today as I was looking for 8.80m, but I know it will come,” said Manyonga. “I am pleased to win again. My success has been down to hard work, training, dedication and commitment.”
Asian champion Gao Xinglong, who claimed the title in Shanghai last year at 8.14m, jumped a season's best of 8.22m to finish second. Another Chinese jumper, world indoor bronze medallist Huang Changzhou, finished third with a personal best of 8.20m while compatriot Zhang Yaoguang was fourth with a PB of 8.19m. Olympic champion Henderson was a distant sixth with a modest 8.03m.
Diamond League victory no.35 for Perkovic
Olympic discus champion Sandra Perkovic of Croatia managed to live up to the expectations. Although the 2016 Diamond Trophy winner fouled on her last four attempts, a throw of 66.94m from the second round secured her fourth consecutive victory at the Shanghai Stadium and a record 35th in IAAF Diamond League competition.
“I really like Shanghai. It is always a great throwing circle,” said the Croat, who had hoped to improve her IAAF Diamond League record of 70.88m set here 12 months ago.
“Although I won, I know I am in a better shape than 66.94m. It wasn't easy competing with the men. It was a long competition and with the high jumpers in the same area it was not easy to make technical adjustments.”
Perkovic was referring to the unique set-up incorporated into the meeting this year, one marking the first time that men and women simultaneously competed in the discus at a top-level track and field meeting.
Dani Stevens of Australia, runner-up of last year, finished second again at 66.47m with Cuba’s world champion Denia Caballero third at 65.76m.
The men’s discus event was won by Philip Milanov of Belgium, who hurled a winning mark of 64.94m.
Poland’s world champion Piotr Malachowski, who also raised the Diamond Trophy last year and took Olympic silver in Rio, finished second with 64.36m. Daniel Stahl of Sweden was third with 64.14m.
Gong wins big as Barshim's momentum continues
China’s world silver medallist Gong Lijiao scored a convincing victory in the women’s shot put. She achieved a throw of 18.35m in the first round to take the leading position and went on to improve her mark in each of the remaining rounds, claiming her third title in Shanghai with 19.46m.
Dani Bunch of the US finished second at 18.98m while Hungary’s Olympic bronze medallist Anita Marton took third place with 18.69m.
Following a 2.36m victory in Doha last week, Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim continued his early season momentum. He cleared 2.33m to clinch the win in the high jump but failed to conquer the bar at 2.37m.
China’s Wang Yu finished second with 2.30m while Andriy Protsenko of Ukraine finished third with 2.27m.
Fans may have sensed deja vu during the men’s pole vault as Olympic bronze medallist Sam Kendricks of the US repeated his victory from last year with the same winning height of 5.88m.
World record-holder Renaud Lavillenie of France also registered the same mark as last year at 5.83m to finish runner-up for the second straight year while last year’s third-place finisher Shawn Barber from Canada took third again at 5.60m.
Vincent Wu for the IAAF