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Rhonex Kipruto returns guns blazing after AIU supension

The world 10km record holder, Rhonex Kipruto, has vehemently denied violating anti-doping rules.

Kipruto, 23, took to his defence shortly after the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) suspended him for use of prohibited substance/method.

He has denied any wrongdoing, emphasising his desire to undergo a longitudinal study on his blood markers under 24-7 supervision.

“I don’t cheat or dope! The truth is on my side. This is all I can say,” Kipruto remarked in a statement released on Wednesday.

The 2019 world championship bronze medallist was charged by the AIU with “use of a prohibited substance/method” after inconsistencies were found in his biological passport between July 2018 and March 2022. He faces a four-year ban if found guilty.

Kipruto’s coach, Brother Colm O’Connell also jumped to his protege’s defence, noting that he (Kipruto) has consistently toiled to attain the heights he has scaled thus far.

“I carefully choose who I work with and to whom I dedicate my energy,” he said. “I know Rhonex is an honest young man and it hurts me to see him suffering now,” O’Connell said.

“Our strategy is to train hard and that’s the only way we achieve results. I have said many times that I am in favour of systematically combating doping so that we can protect clean athletes like Rhonex.”

Kipruto romped to a new world record in the 10km race after running 26:24 in Valencia in 2020.

Kipruto’s manager, Davor Savija, disclosed that they have already spent $30,000 trying to absolve him from wrongdoing.

“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,” Savija said.

“We know that doping and performance-enhancing drugs are a problem of modern society, not just of sport — from boardroom and bedroom to arts, academia, to pressures of modern-day living, all the way to amateur, professional, university and high school sports.

“We know this applies to athletes, as well, and we understand that this raises concerns. We are fighting against doping, we have zero tolerance for cheating, and we support the development of the Athlete Biological Passport. Unfortunately, the “guilty until proven innocent” principle rules the life of an athlete in these cases.”

Savija said the case has been under scrutiny for some time now, intensely engaging the agent, coach, 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.”

(05/18/2023) Views: 120 ‚ö°AMP
by Tony Mballa
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