Manyonga banned for tik use

Johannesburg - Long jump star Luvo Manyonga has been banned for 18 months after testing positive for the drug methamphetamine, commonly known as tik.

Sport24 reported in April that Manyonga tested positive and would await his fate, with the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) deciding on the appropriate punishment.

SAIDS said on Monday the 21-year-old athlete from Mbekweni, in Cape Town, was tested during the National Championships series in Stellenbosch three months ago.

With the ban, imposed on Sunday, he would not be able to compete nationally or internationally until September 2013.

Manyinga had already qualified once in the two SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee-required standards for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

"We know that the Western Cape has huge social problems stemming from the scourge of tik use," SAIDS chief executive Khalid Galant said in a statement on Monday.

"Unfortunately, Luvo fell prey to the negative societal influences in his community around illicit drug use.

"He is participating in drug rehabilitation in order to get his life and athletic career back on track."

Manyonga initially faced a possible two-year ban.

"However, due to mitigating circumstances, the tribunal panel felt it appropriate to reduce his sanction by six months from the standard two-year ban," he said.

Galant said methamphetamine is banned in sport, whether the user thinks it is performance enhancing or not.

Manyonga is a former world junior World Championship champion, and finished fifth at last year's World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, in his first year as a senior athlete.

He jumped 8.26m in the national champs, but had not reached the Olympic-required 8.20m for a second time to book his place for London.

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