22 May 2018

Kenya: AK Told to Clear Teen Runner for Rome Meet

The Sports Dispute Tribunal has ordered Athletics Kenya (AK) to clear Commonwealth 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Cellphine Chespol to participate in the Rome leg of the IAAF Diamond League on May 31 in Italy.

The Tribunal's vice-chairperson Elinah Shiveka, who presided over the matter where Chespol has accused AK and Golazo Sports management of frustrating her, Tuesday ruled that the athlete must be cleared so as to enable her process her visa for the Rome event.

However, Shiveka said Chespol will not run under any management until the contractual disputes among others matters have been heard and determined.

Other Tribunal members present during the hearing were Nyokabi Kimani and Robert Asembo after its chairman John Ohaga excused himself owing to conflict of interest.

AK lawyer Elias Masika are partners with Ohaga at the Nairobi-based Triple OK Law Advocates.

"The urgency of the case was allowing Chespol to participate in the Rome event, having missed Doha and Shanghai legs. The rest of the hearing will follow," said Shiveka, adding that the mention of the case will be on May 29 where the dates for proper hearing will be set.

Athletics Kenya chief executive officer Susan Kamau said they could not have cleared Chespol after two camps claimed ownership of her.

Chespol, the World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion, has accused Golazo of refusing to let her go despite her two-year contract with them elapsing on December 31, 2017.

Chespol claimed that some agents from Golazo had deliberately misinformed officers from the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (Adak) on her whereabouts, which resulted in her missing two doping tests.

Chespol, who is also the Africa Cross Country champion, said she risks getting banned for two years if she misses a third doping test.

She alleged in a statement posted on her Facebook on Tuesday that the mistreatment started when Golazo agents saw that she was not interested in working with them.

"After trying to force me into another contract again, I refused since their management wasn't paying me in full," said Chespol, who confirmed having authored and signed the statement.

Chespol claimed that pressure from her previous coach Gregory Kilonzo forced her sign with Golazo's Barnaba Korir as the agent, which came with Nike's package of US$ 10,000 (Sh 1 million).

"But I was only given S$ 5,000 (Sh 500,000)," said Chespol, adding that she saw no need of telling Golazo about her changing management since the contract ended in December.

Chespol, 19, said she thereafter decided to sign a new contract with a different management under Owen Andersen, who also works for Nike.

Chespol said she was to compete in the Diamond League legs of Doha and Shanghai, but Susan Kamau declined to clear her.

Korir dismissed Chespol's claims saying he was not involved in any contractual agreement with the athlete and Golazo adding that he is not a Golazo agent.

Kamau said they could not have cleared Chespol since Andersen and Golazo's agent Mark Corstjens claimed that Chespol was their athlete.

"If any athlete has a problem with the contract, it's the responsibility of AK to ensure that there is harmony," said Kamau, adding that they were handling the case after having written to both agents.

"We wanted to ensure that the interests of the two managements claiming Chespol's ownership and AK are protected," explained Kamau, adding that she was shocked after Chespol rushed to the Tribunal.

"We couldn't have cleared her."Kamau said as per rules, Chespol should have officially written to Golazo informing them on her intentions rather than just opting to keep quite before engaging another management.

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