South Africa’s star long jumper Luvo Manyonga, who famously overcame a crystal meth addiction to win gold at the 2017 World Championships and silver at the 2016 Olympics, is in trouble with the law again. The 29-year-old, who was banned from athletics for 18 months after testing positive for the drug in 2012, has been fined for public drinking and contravening South Africa’s strict lockdown restrictions.
According to the police notice, Manyonga was caught on Wednesday at Thubelitsha Park in Kayamandi‚ a township on the outskirts of the famous Western Cape winelands town of Stellenbosch. He was charged in terms of the Disaster Management Act and the offence was listed as “failure to confine himself in his place of residence and public drinking”. His residence was listed as Bluewater Bay in Port Elizabeth‚ although it is understood that he has been staying with family at Mbekweni in nearby Paarl since before the nationwide lockdown started on 26 March. The Disaster Management Act forbids the sale of alcohol and requires people to remain indoors unless they provide an essential service or are out shopping for groceries or items specifically listed by government. He was ordered to appear in court on 29 June or pay a 2500 Rand (about $143) admission of guilt fine. Besides his ability as a long jumper, Manyonga caught the attention of the athletics world with his remarkable rehabilitation thanks to the support from key people both inside and outside the sporting world. His ban in 2012 forced him to miss the London Olympics after he had won gold at the Under-20 World Championships in 2010. He beat his addiction in 2015‚ moving to the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre to resume his career. “I focus on a day at a time and stay far from anything that is going to lead me towards a relapse – alcohol, going out, that’s not a part of my life at the moment,” he said after becoming world champion in 2017. “I want to focus most on the moment I am living now, that is the main important thing for me as a recovering addict. I don’t want to disappoint myself.” Manyonga failed to defend his world title in Doha last year‚ finishing off the podium in fourth place.