Top Kenyan athletes contracted to the suspended camps of Rosa Associati and Volare Sports have said they will stand by their banned representatives, maintaining that their contracts are still valid.
The elite athletes, among them world marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto, former record holder Wilson Kipsang and double world 1,500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop said the suspension does not any way shake them as they prepare for the track and marathon season.
“We want to make it clear that we are not contemplating switching managers and that our contracts are still valid and will remain valid. If the suspension is aimed at disrupting activities of some athletes, that will not happen,” the athletes said a statement read by Kipsang, the defending World Marathon Majors champion, on their behalf.
TARGETED SOME ATHLETES
The athletes maintained that the suspension of the two athletics managements by Athletics Kenya was “driven by a motive and targeted some athletes”.
“We strongly believe that the move was malicious and politically driven, a way crafted to frustrate some athletes,” said Kipsang, who is also the president of the Professional Athletes Association of Kenya (PAAK), that fights for athletes’ rights and welfare.
On Monday, Athletics Kenya announced that it had suspended Gerard van de Veen of Volare Sport and Federico Rosa of Rosa Associati from managing Kenyan athletes for six months to allow for an investigation on doping allegations.
The athletes stressed that their managers have not been formally communicated to by AK. “It is unprofessional that the managers have not received any formal information, and only learnt of the whole drama through media,” the athletes said.
They strongly maintained that the suspension of managers was a bid to cover up some unsettled funds AK owed athletes and which the managers kept making follow-ups.
“Some athletes are yet to be paid their allowances, so by keeping at bay managers, the federation can easily make away with the monies,” the statement alleged. Kipsang said AK is fighting managers and the result could be a poor performance in forthcoming assignments such as the IAAF World Relays Championships in Bahamas, the IAAF Diamond League, the IAAF World Championships and big city marathons.
“Athletes are affected and cannot train well since they are worried the fate of their representatives could be compromised at any time,” Kipsang, the reigning London and New York Marathon champion said.
Asbel Kiprop said managers are not necessarily to blame for doping. He said taking banned substances is “a personal decision”.
“An athlete can decide to take the drugs even without the knowledge of the manager. Investigations should be done first and if the manager is caught, then the suspension is given,” Kiprop, who will spearhead Kenya’s World Relays team in the medley race, said.
Volare camp’s top athletes
Dennis Kimetto, Wilson Kipsang, Geoffery Mutai, Peter Some, Frankline Kilel, Wilson Kigen, Jason Mbote, Georgina Rono, Gilbert Kirwa
Rosa camp’s top athletes
Rita Jeptoo, Asbel Kiprop, Priscah Jeptoo, Janeth Jepkosgei, Eunice Sum, Stanley Biwott, Agatha Jeruto, Mercy Cherono, Nancy Lagat