Updated: August 14, 2016

Luvo Manyonga in action (photo credit: Roger Sedres/Image SA)

Long jumper Luvo Manyonga launched a spectacular 8.37m personal best on Saturday night (local time) to bag South Africa’s first track and field medal on day two of the athletics competition at the Olympic Games.

Manyonga held the lead until the final round when American athlete Jeff Henderson produced a leap of 8.38 to take the gold medal.

“I wasn’t nervous. I felt it inside that it was coming, so I was relaxed and I just took it out,” a clearly delighted Manyonga said after the event.

Fellow South African Ruswahl Samaai was unable to make the cut after the third round, with a best leap of 7.97m, and he finished ninth.

In other events, Stephen Mokoka put up a gallant fight but eventually settled for 18th position in the men’s 10 000m final, clocking a season’s best of 27:54.57, with defending champion Mo Farah dominating the contest to win in 27:05.17.

Wayde van Niekerk coasted through the semifinals of the men’s 400m sprint, taking second place in his heat in 44.45 to book his place in Sunday evening’s final.

“I feel comfortable and I got to open up, so I’m feeling positive,” Van Niekerk said.

Joint national record holder Carina Horn crossed the line in sixth position in her semifinal of the women’s 100m contest, clocking 11.20, but it was not enough for her to progress.

Middle-distance runner Rynardt van Rensburg was also eliminated in the penultimate round of the men’s 800m event, though he produced the race of his life to finish fifth in his heat in a personal best time of 1:45.33.

Meanwhile, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) confirmed Irvette van Zyl had withdrawn from the women’s marathon on Sunday with a foot injury.

In her absence, the SA flag would be carried by Lebo Phalula and Christine Kalmer in the classic 42km race.