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Fallen angel!

The career of one of South Africa’s stars at the previous Olympic Games may well be over after he was suspended from athletics.

The Drakenstein valley’s golden boy, Luvo Manyonga of Mbekweni, has been banned from competing for four years after failing to make himself available for drug testing.

The Olympic silver medallist, who participated in the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, will now miss out on next month’s games in Tokyo.

Manyonga was temporarily suspended in January this year after failing to notify the anti-doping unit to state where he finds himself.

A disciplinary tribunal subsequently sentenced him to a four-year suspension as it was his second violation, World Athletics Integrity Unit tweeted on Friday.

The suspension takes effect from 23 December 2019.

Manyonga missed his first compulsory test on 26 November 2019, and ever since athletics authorities are at a loss concerning his whereabouts.

The 30-year-old African record holder and Commonwealth champion can appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sports, but the chances are slim because he did not even dispute his suspension.

William Norris, a lawyer from London, said Manyonga did not cooperate at all during the investigation, and did not attend a disciplinary hearing on 28 May, despite several invitations.

The athlete has a history of drug abuse and was also suspended for 18 months in 2012 for using the drug methamphetamine.

In a statement released on Saturday, Athletic South Africa (ASA) said it had “taken note” of what was deemed an “unfortunate” turn of events.

“This decision comes at a time when the national federation was already in the process of sending out a seek-and-find intervention team to see what can be done to save our troubled but talented athlete,” the organisation said.

“As a disciplined member of World Athletics, we support and remain in solidarity with the outstanding work of the Athletics Integrity Unit, which is meant to ensure that all athletes conform to Anti-Doping rules to guarantee fair-play.”

James Moloi, president of ASA, said he was “totally gutted” that Manyonga had been suspended.

“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,” he said.

Source: Sport24.com

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