Luvo Manyonga ban: Athletics SA commits to ‘find out where he is’
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CAPE TOWN – Athletics South Africa have committed themselves to assisting long jump star Luvo Manyonga, who was handed a four-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for “whereabouts failures”.
In a lengthy, 11-page summary in explaining the decision of the disciplinary tribunal, sole arbitrator William Norris QC of London noted that Manyonga had three whereabouts failures – which entails not submitting your whereabouts by a required deadline, or not updating your whereabouts, or it was filed in an incomplete, inaccurate or insufficient manner, or that you are not available for a doping test when required.
“Any combination of three whereabouts failures within a period of 12 months constitute an anti-doping rule violation, for which the applicable sanction is between one and two years suspension,” the AIU states on their website.
With Manyonga, the AIU said that he had had three whereabouts failures within a 12-month period, beginning November 26, 2019 – a missed test on November 26, 2019; a failing failure effective April 1, 2020; and another filing failure effective October 1, 2020.
But the AIU said because it was Manyonga’s second anti-doping rule violation (ADRV), the ban was increased to four years instead of two, as well as a £1 000 (nearly R20 000) award to World Athletics that the athlete will have to pay.
“The athlete (Manyonga) has made no submission in mitigation, based on his degree of fault. Therefore, World Athletics submits at this point that a four-year period of ineligibility must be imposed,” World Athletics said, which was endorsed by Norris.
The four-year sanction has been backdated to December 23, 2020, which was when the provisional suspension started.
On Saturday, Athletics South Africa president James Moloi said in a statement that the organisation was “totally gutted” by the four-year ban imposed on Manyonga, but that ASA would continue with the process of sending out a “seek-and-find intervention team” to help the 30-year-old, who has battled with drug addiction in the past.
Manyonga, who hails from Mbekweni in Paarl, won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, as well as gold at the 2017 world championships and 2018 Commonwealth Games. He is also the SA record holder with a distance of 8.65m.
“We are totally gutted that the athlete has now been slapped with this suspension. However, the board of ASA has decided to follow through on the earlier commitment to send a small team to find out where he is, and what can still be done to assist the athlete with whatever he requires to refocus on his career,” Moloi said.
“We also want to reconfirm that ASA does not interfere in the work of the Athletics Integrity Unit, and strongly condemn athletes who undermine its work, because it is the responsibility of each athlete to conform to anti-doping regulations.”
ASA added that they would provide further updates on their intervention with Manyonga in due course.