The Institute for Drug-Free Sport yesterday imposed an 18 month ban on international level long jump star Luvo Manyonga, who tested positive for the drug methamphetamine, commonly known as tik.

According to Institute for Drug-Free Sport’s CEO, Khalid Galant, this means the 21-year-old athlete is not eligible to compete in any sport or competition, national or internationally until Sept 2013.

Manyonga was tested during the Yellow Pages Athletics Series in Stellenbosch during March 2012.

Commenting on the hearing, Galant says that Manyonga initially faced a possible two-year ban from sport. “However, due to mitigating circumstances, the tribunal panel felt it appropriate to reduce his sanction by 6 months from the standard two-year ban,” he explains.

He points out that Methamphetamine (Tik) is banned in sport whether the user thinks it is performance enhancing or not and that sport and doping is a reflection of society at large.

“We know that the Western Cape has huge social problems stemming from the scourge of Tik use,” Galant adds. “Unfortunately, Luvo fell prey to the negative societal influences in his community around illicit drug use. He is participating in drug rehabilitation in order to get his life and athletic career back on track.”

Galant says that SAIDS acknowledges that more has to be done in terms of supporting SA’s athletes with regards to life skills and decision-making capabilities so that their decision-making skills are not only astute on the field, but also with regard to off-field scenarios, particularly as it pertains to fending off negative influences that can derail a promising athletic career.