South African wins long jump with a Commonwealth Games record, while high jumper Brandon Starc gets gold for Australia
Competing at the Commonwealth Games had been on Luvo Manyonga’s bucket list, and the South African world champion made the most of the occasion by breaking the Games record to gain gold in a high-class competition.
Australia’s Henry Frayne, receiving strong home support and fresh from his own Games record-breaking jump in qualifying, had leapt into the lead in the second round as he was just a single centimetre off his record mark from the day before with 8.33m.
But, after a foul in round three, Manyonga responded with a jump of 8.35m before going even further with 8.41m in the final round.
Frayne secured the silver, while Ruswahl Samaai joined his team-mate on the podium, gaining another medal for South Africa with 8.22m from round two for bronze to match his medal from Glasgow four years before.
“I’m excited and happy with winning the gold and setting a Games record. What more could I want?” Manyonga said after standing on the top of the podium, his gold medal hanging proudly around his neck.
“This was very important to me as competing at the Commonwealth Games was on my bucket list.”
England’s Dan Bramble jumped a best of 7.94m for fifth, after a mark of 8.02m in qualifying, and said: “It is definitely bittersweet. I was really up for the occasion.
“There are big jumps there but I think I got a little impatient with the run-up. I’m excited because there is a lot more there and I can’t wait to get a big one down.”
Brandon Starc enjoyed the high jump performance of his life in front of home fans as he improved his PB by a centimetre to clear 2.32m and get gold, beating Jamal Wilson from Bahamas and Canada’s Django Lovett, who both cleared 2.30m to secure silver and bronze respectively.
Four British athletes contested the final, with Scotland’s Allan Smith top-placed in fifth after his 2.27m outdoor PB clearance. England’s Chris Baker was ninth with a best of 2.21m, while a second Scottish Smith – David – was 10th with 2.18m.
That was also the same best height that England’s 2012 Olympic and 2016 world indoor medallist Robbie Grabarz could manage and he later explained how he had lost the enjoyment.
“I feel like I’m in good shape, but I don’t feel like I’m taking any pleasure in competing at the moment which is a shame,” said Grabarz. “I want to enjoy competing again – the training is fun and going really well. It’s the worst I’ve jumped for a long time so it is not good. It is what it is but I’ll move on from it. It isn’t how I expected my first Commonwealth Games final would go.”
There was more medal success for the host nation in the men’s F38 shot put as world champion Cameron Crombie threw 15.74m in the third round for a winning mark that was exactly two metres further than his team-mate Marty Jackson managed to secure the silver. Bronze was claimed by South Africa’s Reinhardt Hamman after a throw of 13.15m in the fourth round.
A third Australian, Jayden Sawyer, was fourth with 12.40m, while England’s Joshua Bain was fifth with 12.31m.
England’s Zharnel Hughes eased into the 200m final, clocking 20.37 to win his semi ahead of Anaso Jobodwana, but the South African was later retroactively disqualified for a false start.
Canada’s Aaron Brown went quickest with his 20.18 to win the first semi-final, while Jamaica’s Warren Weir will also feature in the final after his time of 20.62 for fourth was quick enough to see him through ahead of England’s Richard Kilty, who was the fastest non-qualifier.
Leon Reid’s intention had been to “leave everything on the track” and his plan worked as his runner-up finish with a time of 20.61 in the third semi-final behind Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards saw him progress.
“This was my final,” said the Northern Ireland sprinter. “I’m happy. I’ll recover and go again.”
» See the April 12 and 19 editions of AW magazine for in-depth event-by-event coverage from the Gold Coast Games