Johannesburg – Another prominent University of Pretoria athlete, Clarence Munyai, is embroiled in a Tuks Athletics management politics.
Last year, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) world champion and Olympic silver medallist Luvo Manyonga left the institution under a cloud and bad treatment, and transferred to Port Elizabeth.
The lanky long jumper left Tuks Sport in the cold fresh from winning his world title in London.
Munyai, a promising junior sprinter who took part at the IAAF World Championships in the UK, has also left the institution after a fallout with Tuks officials.
There are allegations of bad treatment at Tuks, but Toby Sutcliffe, the chief executive of the High Performance Centre at the university, moved swiftly to deny them.
He said that Tuks “cares and treats athletes equally, irrespective of colour”.
“Racial talks are nonsense. I won’t entertain such talks. We will make Munyai understand his role because he is talented,” Sutcliffe said.
Tuks management said Munyai had disciplinary issues and that the facility wouldn’t simply allow an athlete to do as he pleased.
“Clarence has not left; it’s just that he has disciplinary problems. You can’t have an athlete who has not achieved international stardom make us dance to his tune.
“He is sponsored by us and we pay for his food and accommodation.
“He has a contract; he can’t just up and leave just like that. Until such a time when he has achieved at the highest level, we will [not] listen to his demands. He wants to choose races and all that,” said Sutcliffe.
Tuks athletics manager Danie Cornelius said the sprinter was getting big-headed.
“He [Munyai] gave us problems. He had become too big for his shoes,” said Cornelius.
Munyai refused to shed more light on the matter, but insisted that he had left the performance centre of his own accord and that he was not forcefully removed.
“Yes I have left Tuks Athletics. Our relationship was already damaged beyond repair. That’s all I am going to say,” said Munyai.
Other athletes on the world stage who left the training facility under controversial circumstances include Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya, and triple jumper and Olympic long jump silver medallist Khotso Mokoena.
Tuks will not have a disciplinary hearing for Munyai, but promised to give him a tongue lashing for his recent behaviour and attitude.