Athletic apparel manufacturer Nike have pulled their sponsorship of South African long jumper Luvo Manyonga following his suspension over failing to notify the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of his whereabouts.
Nike have opted not to renew Manyonga’s sponsorship with the athlete facing a potential two-year ban over non-compliance with anti-doping officials requests.
“The contract between Nike and the athlete (Luvo Manyonga) expired at the end of 2020. We are no longer sponsoring him,” Nike communications manager Fareed Mohammed confirmed is a statement to the press this week.
Manyonga’s agent Lee-Roy Newton has sensationally claimed that the Olympic silver medallist is battling drug addiction according to a report from The Sowetan.
The long jumper’s whereabouts are currently unknown and those close to him are said to be deeply concerned for his safety.
An athlete who trained with Manyonga said that they believe his career in athletics is all but over.
“It is a sad state of affairs. He could have gone to win a gold medal at the Olympics, but he is not serious about his career. He is always playful and never takes anything seriously. I pleaded with him to not stop training, but it didn’t help,” the anonymous athlete told the Sowetan.
Another source cited in the publications report on the Manyonga saga, claims that he has been living the life and now owes money to several people.
“Nike pulled the plug on Luvo. He is broke and owes a lot of people money. Nike has zero tolerance for drug abuse. The boy got paid big money every month, but he messed things up. He got nice sports gear on top of the big money they paid him every month.”
ASA remain in his corner
Athletics South Africa president Aleck Skhosana had come out to bat for the athlete earlier this week, saying that he believes the athlete can clear his name.
“We are disappointed in his suspension and we believe he will be able to interact with the Integrity Unit of World Athletics and be able to clear his name, as he is required, because he needs to provide reasons to why and what happened and why he did not present himself for whenever he was required to do so,” Skhosana told Eyewitness News.
“He knows these things; he’s done it before. The compliance issues, he knows them, and I am sure he does have a reason why he did not present himself or share his whereabouts. We hope for the best for him that he will be able to clear this before the Olympics and get to focus on the Games and other competitions.”