Athletics

Troubled Olympic star Luvo Manyonga breaks silence after 4-year ban

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Luvo Manyonga (Gallo)
Luvo Manyonga (Gallo)

Troubled Olympic silver medallist Luvo Manyonga said his mother Joyce's death last year contributed to his derailment, which led to a four-year ban from governing body World Athletics' Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

Manyonga, who has battled drug addiction, told the Cape Times exclusively that he consulted a traditional healer who told him that he was "apparently supposed to die" and not his mother.

"When my mother died, apparently I was the one who was supposed to die, and I was told that I was going to die by a gun," Manyonga said.

"According to my culture, I was supposed to do a ceremony to thank my ancestors, who made it possible for me to be where I was. 

"I never did ask for acknowledgement from them, and they are very angry at me."

The wildly talented long jumper from Paarl missed out on the 2012 London Games after testing positive for crystal meth and getting an 18-month ban from athletics.

Four years later, Manyonga seemingly beat his drug addiction and bounced back to claim silver at the 2016 Olympics in Rio before claiming gold at the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

However, last week he was handed a four-year ban after failing to make himself available for drug testing three times in a 12-month period under the sport's 'whereabouts' criteria - a blow to his Tokyo Olympic participation.

The AIU said Manyonga missed the first test on 26 November 2019 and was then too imprecise on location details for two others in 2020.

Manyonga also told the Cape Times that he was "just dropped" by his agency, whom he said knew his whereabouts and controlled his finances.

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