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JOHANNESBURG: Long jump star Luvo Manyonga has been banned for 18 months after testing positive for the drug methamphetamine, commonly known as tik.
The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids) said yesterday 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. Manyonga had already qualified once in the two SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee-required standards for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“Unfortunately, Luvo fell prey to the negative societal influences in his community around illicit drug use,” Saids chief executive Khalid Galant said yesterday.
“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.
The athlete jumped 8.26m in the national champs last year, but had not reached the required 8.20m for a second time to book his place for London. – Sapa