Golden boy of South African sport Jacques Freitag found dead after being missing for 15 days

The news shocked the sporting community in South Africa when the “Golden boy of sport” and former world high jump champion, Jacques Freitag, was found dead in a cemetery in West Pretoria after being missing for 15 days.

The news stunned the South African sporting world. Jacques Freitag, once a prominent figure in athletics, was found with multiple gunshot wounds near the Zandfontein cemetery near the South African capital, Pretoria.

South African police spokeswoman Brigadier Brenda Muridili confirmed that Freitag had been found dead. The 42-year-old former athlete was reported missing on 17 June after visiting his mother’s home in Bronkhorstpruit.

According to his sister Chrissie Lewis, the athlete, best known for winning the high jump at the 2003 World Championships in Paris, was last seen when he was picked up by a man who offered him a job. Since then, the family had received no news until the tragic discovery last Tuesday.

The man once known as the golden boy of South African sport had fallen on hard times in recent years. Reports suggest that the Warrenton-born athlete had struggled with recreational drug addiction for years and had been living in precarious conditions since retiring from sport in 2013.

According to local media, despite his attempts to recover and find employment, his situation led to reports of him sleeping on the streets on several occasions.

The South African authorities believe that the primary hypothesis is that this was a murder, possibly related to drug trafficking. More information on the motive for the crime is expected in the coming days.

South African sport is mourning the loss of one of its greatest talents outside of rugby, the country’s flagship sport. Freitag is one of the few athletes to have won World Championships at three different levels, joining the likes of Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Veronica Campbell-Brown.

Freitag’s sporting career was highlighted by his performance at the 1999 World Under-18 Championships in Poland, where he won gold, a feat he repeated just two years later at the World Under-20 Championships in Chile.

The pinnacle of his sporting career came more than two decades ago. At the Stade de France in Paris, during the IAAF (now World Athletics) World Championships, Freitag cleared 2.35 metres to become the world’s best high jumper.

After this triumph, his career did not progress as he had hoped. A year later, at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, he finished 20th with a poor mark of 2.20 metres. The following year, he set a new national record of 2.38 metres, which still stands in the rankings.

Click HERE to learn more about this promotion! (18+)

Leave a reply