Ikaika jump to Kipruto’s defense after doping suspension
'Facts say he is not cheating'- Rhonex Kipruto management, Ikaika Sport have jumped to his defense arguing that there is insufficient evidence to find this athlete guilty.
Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has provisionally suspended Kenya’s World 10km record holder Rhonex Kipruto for the use of a Prohibited Substance/Method (ABP).
Kipruto has been found to have Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) irregularities.
The 23-year-old Kenyan clocked 26:24 in Valencia in January 2020 to set the still-standing world record, just four months after winning world 10,000m bronze in Doha.
His management, Ikaika Sport have, however, jumped to his defense arguing that there is insufficient evidence to find this athlete guilty. With Kipruto saying “I don't cheat or dope! The truth is on my side. This is all I can say.”
In a lengthy statement, his management explained their reasons for disagreeing with AIU.
The statement states that the AIU panel of experts evaluated the ABP records for the period July 2018 - March 2022. All out-of-competition (OOC) and in-competition (IC) tests, more than 50, were negative.
All (but one OOC test) were unannounced. Kipruto was tested in-and-out of his specified 1-hour testing slots – morning, mid-day and evening. In total, there were 32 ABP blood tests (2 IC and 30 OOC) from those 32, on 20 occasions urine samples were collected as well. Additional 17 IC urine tests were done, plus 3 more urine-only OOC tests.
“Kipruto is provisionally suspended and was requested to provide an explanation, which of course the athlete and independent experts have already submitted.
Despite the fact that we must accept the “presumption of guilt”, per anti-doping rules in place, we struggle to accept seeing athletes treated like criminals.
We are presenting the most important questions and answers about Rhonex, his background and why we believe him when he says that he is a clean athlete,” the statement read in part.
“We are fighting against doping, we have zero tolerance for cheating, and we support development of the Athlete Biological Passport. However, imagine a scenario where a policeman stops you and tries to imprison you without any direct or even indirect proof, saying you have committed some undefined terrible crime, which now you need to prove to have not committed, while addressing various indirect hypotheses of what might have happened with your body months and years ago.
This is a presumption of guilt! Kafkaesque drama, one could say. Unfortunately, the “guilty until proven innocent” principle rules the life of an athlete in these cases. (While we believe the standard of comfortable satisfaction shall prevail and the accused person shall remain innocent until proven guilty.)
The case has been under scrutiny for some time now, intensely engaging the agent, coach and assistant coach, staff and, of course, independent experts as well as the athlete himself.
It is affecting Rhonex’s mental and physical performance. We have already spent more than USD 30,000, which is a huge amount of money in the distance running world. This is trial before trial, and this is somewhat schizophrenic – we are asked to explain ourselves, but are not provided with sufficient information.
Without engaging experts, legal teams and incurring significant expenses, one can’t provide sufficiently detailed and reasoned explanations and replies rooted in science, data analytics, etc.
The absurd thing is we are not in a position of a level playing field. This is injustice. We will, of course, fully cooperate and be totally transparent. We urge the AIU to do the same.” The statement by Davor Savija, Rhonex Kipruto’s agent at the Ikaika Sports agency continued.