AK bans athletes from Diamond League races over dip in form

PHOTO | AFP Kenya's Asbel Kiprop celebrates after winning the men's 1,500 metres final at the 2013 IAAF World Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on August 18, 2013.

What you need to know:

  • World champions Asbel Kiprop, Eunice Sum and Milcah Chemos are among those affected by the ban and will therefore miss the next events in Rome and Oslo on Thursday and June 11 respectively.
  • Joining Kiprop, Sum and Chemos, who are World champions in 1,500m, 800m and 3,000m steeplechase respectively on AK’s black list, are World 3,000m steeplechase silver winner Lydia Chepkurui, Purity Kirui, Alfred Kipketer, Collins Cheboi and James Magut.

Athletics Kenya has set a collision course with top athletes and their managers after it barred eight runners from Diamond League meetings indefinitely due to poor form.

World champions Asbel Kiprop, Eunice Sum and Milcah Chemos are among those affected by the ban and will therefore miss the next events in Rome and Oslo on Thursday and June 11 respectively.

AK president Isaiah Kiplagat said the move is meant to protect the athletes after their form dipped.

Joining Kiprop, Sum and Chemos, who are World champions in 1,500m, 800m and 3,000m steeplechase respectively on AK’s black list, are World 3,000m steeplechase silver winner Lydia Chepkurui, Purity Kirui, Alfred Kipketer, Collins Cheboi and James Magut.

“We shall also demand for reports from their respective managers explaining why they have dipped in form. We are not fighting them but trying to help our athletes,” said Kiplagat. But Nairobi chairman Barnabas Korir took issue with Kiplagat saying they should not pass blame to the athletes for their failure and lack of planning. 

“In any case, it’s AK that had cleared them to compete in Rome and Oslo,” Korir said, challenging AK to state how and when it ever helped athletes.

“It’s unacceptable for AK to make an about turn after clearing them to take part in the Rome and Oslo Diamond League meetings,” Korir said.

 “It’s time we put our feet down and say enough is enough,” thundered Kiplagat at a press conference.

“We can’t let rogue managers and agents exploit our athletes by making them run in even when they are tired.” Kiplagat warned that they will also ban agents and managers whose athletes won’t heed their directive.

“We are in charge of athletics in this country and we can break any contract the athletes have signed with organisers of any event if we think that it’s not for the benefit of the athletes,” said Kiplagat. “Diamond League is not a matter of life and death compared to the health of our athletes.”

Kiplagat singled out Chemos saying it was clear something was not right her poor show in Shanghai on May 8 before failing to finish her race at the Prefontaine Classic last weekend. Purity Kirui and Lydia Chepkurir as well performed poorly in these events.

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