Luvo Manyonga lays it bare after being handed four-year ban by AIU

Troubled South African long jump star Luvo Manyonga has lifted the lid on factors that contributed to his downfall.

Luvo Manyonga lays it bare after being handed four-year ban by AIU

Troubled South African long jump star Luvo Manyonga has lifted the lid on factors that contributed to his downfall.

Manyonga was handed four-year ban just a week ago by Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for three whereabouts failures within 12 months.

The 30-year-old was nowhere to be found for a doping test on 26 November 2018, a filing failure effective 1 April 2020, and another filing failure effective 1 October 2020.

READ | SA’S LONG JUMPER LUVO MANYONGA BANNED FOR 4 YEARS

And Manyonga has now broken his silence on what led to his disappearance and failure to honour his tribunal.

“I was nowhere to be found for my tribunal and the cause of that is finances, but I am not making that an excuse for my behaviour,” Manyonga told Cape Times.

“It’s just… not being stable and focusing on my career, doing some stuff that normal people do,” he said.

Manyonga further revealed that the death of his mother took a toll on him, before laying bare the personal challenges he came across after burying her.

“I found about two months ago that it’s not myself who is going off track. I went to consult a traditional healer and he prophesied about what is going on in my life and my late mother,” continued Manyonga.

“When my mother died, apparently I was the one who was supposed to die and I was told that I was going to die by a gun.

WATCH | RYAN CROUSER SMASHES SHOT PUT WORLD RECORD WITH MASSIVE HEAVE

“According to my culture, I was supposed to do a ceremony to thank my ancestors, who made it possible for me to be where I was. I never did ask for acknowledgement from them and they are very angry at me,” said Manyongo.

Manyonga further revealed that he was also dumped by his agency, saying he couldn’t update his whereabouts on his own.

“My agency just dropped me in a manner that … I (dont have) potential anymore. I never had an opportunity to update my whereabouts myself.

“I do not understand how my agency did not know about my whereabouts because they knew I was with my sister and they are the ones who controlled my money,” revealed Manyonga.

Manyonga feels his agency took advantage of the situation but he doesn’t want to blame them for his mistakes.

READ | ATHLETICS SOUTH AFRICA ‘GUTTED’ BY LUVO MANYONGA’S 4-YEAR BAN

“I am not blaming them for my mistakes but that gave them power to take advantage of me,” added Manyonga.

Manyonga won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, before scooping gold both at the 2017 World Championships, and the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The Paarl-born athlete remains the country’s record holder with a distance of 8.65m.

Source : The South African More   

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‘World’s happiest country’ Finland is desperately seeking migrants

Due to its 'greying generation', Finland faces an acute workforce shortage and needs a 'spectacular number of people to come to the country'.

‘World’s happiest country’ Finland is desperately seeking migrants

Repeatedly dubbed the happiest nation on the planet with world-beating living standards, Finland should be deluged by people wanting to relocate, but in fact it faces an acute workforce shortage.

“It’s now widely acknowledged that we need a spectacular number of people to come to the country,” recruiter Saku Tihverainen from agency Talented Solutions told AFP.

Workers are needed “to help cover the cost of the greying generation”, the recruiter explained.

Finland experiencing effects of weak population growth

While many Western countries are battling weak population growth, few are feeling the effects as sharply as Finland.

With 39.2 over-65s per 100 working-age people, it is second only to Japan in the extent of its ageing population, according to the UN, which forecasts that by 2030 the “old age dependency ratio” will rise to 47.5.

The government has warned that the nation of 5.5 million needs to practically double immigration levels to 20 000-30 000 a year to maintain public services and plug a looming pensions deficit.

Anti immigrant sentiment drawback

Finland might seem like an attractive destination on paper, scoring high in international comparisons for quality of life, freedom and gender equality, with little corruption, crime and pollution.

But anti-immigrant sentiment and a reluctance to employ outsiders are also widespread in Western Europe’s most homogenous society, and the opposition far-right Finns Party regularly draws substantial support during elections.

Tipping point

After years of inertia, businesses and government “are now at the tipping point and are recognising the problem” posed by a greying population, said Charles Mathies, a research fellow at the Academy of Finland.

Mathies is one of the experts consulted by the government’s “Talent Boost” programme, now in its fourth year, which aims to make the country more attractive internationally, in part through local recruitment schemes.

Those targeted include health workers from Spain, metalworkers from Slovakia, and IT and maritime experts from Russia, India and Southeast Asia. 

But previous such efforts have petered out. 

In 2013, five of the eight Spanish nurses recruited to the western town of Vaasa left after a few months, citing Finland’s exorbitant prices, cold weather and notoriously complex language.

Finland has nonetheless seen net immigration for much of the last decade, with around 15 000 more people arriving than leaving in 2019. 

But many of those quitting the country are higher-educated people, official statistics show.

Faced with the OECD’s largest skilled worker shortage, some Finnish startups are creating a joint careers site to better bag overseas talent.

“As you can imagine, this is a slow burner,” Shaun Rudden from food delivery firm Wolt said in an e-mail, adding that “We try to make the relocation process as painless as possible.”

Systemic problem

Startups “have told me that they can get anyone in the world to come and work for them in Helsinki, as long as he or she is single,” the capital’s mayor, Jan Vapaavuori, said to AFP.

But “their spouses still have huge problems getting a decent job.”

Many foreigners complain of a widespread reluctance to recognise overseas experience or qualifications, as well as prejudice against non-Finnish applicants.

Ahmed (who requested his name be changed for professional reasons) is a 42-year-old Brit with many years’ experience in building digital products for multinational, household-name companies.

Yet six months of networking and applying for jobs in Helsinki, where he was trying to move for family reasons, proved fruitless.

“One recruiter even refused to shake my hand, that was a standout moment,” he told AFP.

“There was never a shortage of jobs going, just a shortage of mindset,” said Ahmed, who during his search in Finland received offers from major companies in Norway, Qatar, the UK and Germany, and eventually began commuting weekly from Helsinki to Dusseldorf.

Recruiter Saku Tihverainen said shortages are pushing more companies to loosen their insistence on only employing native Finnish workers. 

“And yet, a lot of the Finnish companies and organisations are very adamant about using Finnish, and very fluent Finnish at that,” he said.

Changing priorities 

For Helsinki mayor Jan Vaaavuori, four years of Finland being voted the world’s happiest country in a UN ranking have “not yet helped as much as we could have hoped.”

“If you stop someone in the street in Paris or London or Rome or New York, I still don’t think most people know about us,” he mused. 

Mayor Vapaavuori, whose four-year term ends this summer, has turned increasingly to international PR firms to help raise the city’s profile. 

He is optimistic about Finland’s ability to attract talent from Asia in future, and believes people’s priorities will have changed once international mobility ramps up again post-coronavirus.

Helsinki’s strengths, being “safe, functional, reliable, predictable — those values have gained in importance,” he said, adding: “Actually I think our position after the pandemic is better than it was before.”

By © Agence France-Presse

Source : The South African More   

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