HIGH FLYER: Paarl-born Luvo Manyonga

The Olympic silver medallist had a soaring start to his international season over the weekend and threw down the gauntlet, launching a characteristically massive opening jump before leaping to a new Diamond League record of 8.61m on his final attempt of the Chinese event.

It was a confidence-boosting display by the Paarl-born ace as he beat Olympic champion Jeff Henderson of the United States, who was the one that beat Manyonga for the gold in Rio.

The 25-year-old boasts the world lead as well as the South African and African record of 8.65m from the South African championships, which launched him as high as into 11th place on the world all-time list.

He says: “The track was really fast and that made it difficult and I did a few fouls, and that was a distraction.

“I didn’t get the distance I wanted today as I was looking for 8.80m, but I know it will come.”

Compatriot Ruswahl Samaai finished in fifth place with a leap of 8.18m, with former South African record holder Khotso Mokoena posting a season’s best of 7.85m for eighth place.

Showing good early form, South African 400m hurdles record-holder LJ van Zyl claimed his second consecutive podium finish in the Diamond League.

The Shanghai even is the second of the Diamond series after the opening event in Doha took place at the start of the month.

After China, the athletes will be heading to Eugene, USA for the next leg starting May 27.