Two years after finding refuge in Pretoria, where he was provided with a safe haven to fight off his demons and relaunch his career, world long jump champion Luvo Manyonga has spread his wings once again.
The University of Pretoria (Tuks) confirmed on Tuesday that Manyonga had cut ties with the institution, opting for a move to Port Elizabeth in order to be closer to his family.
“It has been an exciting two years for everyone at TuksSport who has been involved with Manyonga,” said TuksSport acting chief executive Toby Sutcliffe.
“Together with Manyonga they indeed shifted the boundaries of international long jumping.”
It was unclear where Manyonga would base himself in the windy city, or whether he would continue working with coach Neil Cornelius, who was based in Pretoria.
“We wish Luvo all the best for the future and hope that he will continue to dominate the world of athletics,” Sutcliffe said.
Manyonga first flaunted his remarkable talent at the age of 19 when he won the world junior title in 2010, and the following year he finished fifth at the global senior championships.
In April 2012, however, his fledgling career hit a wall when he was slapped with an 18-month ban after testing positive for the banned stimulant methamphetamine.
Locked in a battle against recreational drug addiction, he spent four years on the sidelines before he was rescued by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) in late 2015.
In a joint initiative with Tuks, Sascoc president Gideon Sam organised for Manyonga to be removed him from his troubled environment in Mbekweni township in the Western Cape and placed under supervision in the capital city.
Bursting into form in his comeback season, he took second place at the Rio Olympics last year, missing out on the gold medal by just one centimetre.
This year the lanky star improved even further with consistent training, and his explosive efforts at home and abroad were spectacular.
Manyonga broke the African record with a leap of 8.65m and won the world title in London in August, and he was being tipped to rattle American athlete Mike Powell’s long standing world record of 8.95m next year.