Athletes not taking doping seriously says Mokoena

Manyonga ‘must get help’

Long jump star Khotso Mokoena.
Long jump star Khotso Mokoena.
Image: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images

Long jump star Khotso Mokoena says local athletes do not take doping seriously and that a system must be put in place to educate them about the dangers of doping to help safeguard their careers.

Mokoena said the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) should see the suspension of disgraced long jump star Luvo Manyonga as a wake-up call.

Manyonga received a four-year ban for a doping violation that in the end, he did not even try to contest.

Manyonga and his lawyer, Brendan Weldrick, did not respond to various notices informing them of the hearing set for May 28, wrote the arbitrator.

Mokoena, who is a Sascoc board member and the athletes' commission chairperson, warned athletes about the dangers of taking doping for granted.

“It is very sad to lose such a talented athlete to a four-year ban. What we as the athletes' commission have been discussing over the past two days is that we need to educate athletes about the dangers of doping. We need to educate them a little bit more because the information is not out there enough as athletes do not take it seriously. Luvo did not take it seriously and otherwise, we will lose more of them," Mokoena told Sowetan.

Mokoena said Manyonga's problems started during the lockdown as most of the athletes were frustrated due to the lack of events.

“That is where a lot of things went wrong and he did not have a system with him during the hard times. His comeback depends on the system that he has," explained Mokoena.

“If I had to pick up the phone right now and speak to Luvo, I would tell him that he shouldn't give up. Few of the great sprinters from the USA were also banned for four to eight years and came back to win medals at the Olympics. He must call us and then we will be able to help him," he added.

Meanwhile, Manyonga's former agent Lee-Roy Newton of the Newton Agency, which used to manage the athletes, pleaded with him to go to rehab before it is too late.

“Luvo was like family to the agency and it is sad what has happened to him. He is still not in rehab and that is where he needs to be to get his life in order," Newton said.

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