Restoration for Manyonga in Rio

UP-Tuks track and field athlete Luvo Manyonga added to the South African Olympic medal tally on 14 August. The 25-year old made national headlines by scooping the silver medal in the long jump event.

Manyonga had a strong start as he stood in pole position leading up to the climax of the event with a jump of 8.28 m. He improved on his lead when he sprang a distance of 8.37 m with his fifth attempt and gold looked very probable. Unfortunately, Manyonga miscued his last attempt and was unable to improve on that. American Jeff Henderson snatched away gold when he grazed a mere 1 cm past Manyonga’s standing lead.

The UP athlete has had his fair share of adversity in the past. He was found in contravention of doping regulations and as a result spent several years off the athletic circuit. In 2012 Manyonga was caught with traces of crystal methamphetamine (tik) in his system and this resulted in an 18-month ban. Fortunately for Manyonga, his story is triumphant as he has since been successfully rehabilitated.

Manyonga was delighted to have overcome his drug addiction and to make such a great comeback and win a silver medal. After his Olympic triumph, the 25-year old said, “I have risen from my demons … they’ve been trying for years to pull me down, but now I made it. My life already changed before I came here … this is just a bonus. I can’t even describe it … just look at my face.”


Image: Mail and Guardian. 

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