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Olympic medallist Manyonga drug free, but on a high

Athletics
Reaffirming his commitment to remain drug-free, Olympic long-jump silver medallist Luvo Manyonga has enrolled in an aftercare rehabilitation programme.

Manyonga grabbed the headlines at the Rio Olympic Games when he leapt to the Olympic silver medal signalling his triumph over the addiction that temporarily derailed his promising career.

Athletics SA (ASA) and Newton Agency, who represent Manyonga, released a statement on Wednesday confirming the addiction was “a daily challenge” for the long-jumper.

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Luvo Manyonga claimed a silver medal in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games long jump. Photo: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

“Luvo was part of a rehabilitation programme at a highly-regarded treatment facility in the lead-up to the Rio Olympic Games,” the statement read.

“(He) has now enrolled in the facility's aftercare programme to continue his rehabilitation and achieve his dream of becoming one of the world’s greatest long jumpers in the history of the sport.”

The statement said Manyonga remained committed to the Wada and Saids testing requirements and submits to regular monitoring at facility.

“The continuation of his treatment in the facility simply provides the best structure to achieve his personal and performance goals as it allows him to focus fully on the demands of training and competing while under the care and support of a professional support team,” ASA and Newton Agency said.

Manyonga last month smashed the South African long-jump record when he landed a mammoth 8.62 metre jump at the Athletics Gauteng North Championships in Pretoria, improving Khotso Mokoena’s previous national mark by 12 centimetres.

The talented jumper’s battle with drug addiction has been well documented with the 2010 World Junior champion missing the London 2012 Games after testing positive for the recreational drug “tik” serving an 18-month ban.

His addiction had cost him four years of his career and he vowed to stay committed to keeping the drug demon at bay.

“Unfortunately, I have been battling substance abuse since I was a teenager and it has been a difficult journey,” Manyonga said.

“I wanted to release this statement to show that there is no shame in your past and empower others to shake off the stigma associated with addiction.”

Manyonga said the decision to openly talk about his rehabilitation was to “hopefully allow others to admit to their daily challenges”.

“I am committed to staying drug-free and I want to achieve great things in my career and life,” Manyonga said.

“To achieve my goals and dreams, I understand that I will need all the support I can get.

“I want to thank my family, ASA and support team at Newton Sports Agency for all their help and support they have given me thus far.

“I am excited about my future.”

The Star

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