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Manyonga leads strong SA team at Rabat Diamond League

It had emerged that Caster Semenya’s entry into the 800m event had been denied by the Moroccan Athletics Federation, but she was seeking clarity on this decision.

FILE: Gold medallist South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga celebrates after the final of the men’s long jump athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on 5 August 2017. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - World champion Luvo Manyonga will lead a strong South African contingent in Rabat, Morocco on Sunday as the IAAF Diamond League series makes a stop on African soil for the sixth leg of the global campaign.

It had emerged that Caster Semenya’s entry into the 800m event had been denied by the Moroccan Athletics Federation, but she was seeking clarity on this decision.

Manyonga will be joined in the men's long jump contest by African champion Ruswahl Samaai and former continental champion Zarck Visser.

All three SA men have sailed beyond 8.20m this season and they will be among the favourites in a full-strength field which also features Olympic gold medallist Jeff Henderson of the United States and world indoor champion Juan Miguel Echevarria of Cuba.

On the track, after setting a Season Best of 13.30 seconds to finish third at the Diamond League meeting in Rome last week, Antonio Alkana will be eager to take another step forward in the build-up to the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar later this year.

Alkana enters the blocks in the men's 110m hurdles contest, which is packed with elite international stars including Olympic gold medallist Omar McLeod of Jamaica and former world champion Sergey Shubenkov of Russia (competing as a neutral athlete).

In the men's 200m sprint, 21-year-old speedster Clarence Munyai will look to gain momentum after shaking off some injury niggles. Though he boasts the fastest Personal Best in the field after setting a national record of 19.69 last year, Munyai faces a formidable challenge.

He will line up alongside the likes of Turkish athlete Ramil Guliyev, the world champion, as well as Canadian rocket Andre de Grasse and in-form American speedster Kenneth Bednarek.

And in the men's discus, local giant Victor Hogan is hoping to put up a fight against another quality field which includes nine men who have thrown further than 66m this season. Hogan is up against the likes of former world champion Piotr Malachowski of Poland and in-form Swedish athlete Daniel Stahl.

Athletes Schedule (SA times):

8:30pm - Long Jump, men (Luvo Manyonga, Ruswahl Samaai, Zarck Visser)

8:40pm - Discus Throw, men (Victor Hogan)

8:54pm - 200m, men (Clarence Munyai)

9:28pm - 110m hurdles, men (Antonio Alkana)

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