On October 5, LetsRun.com received the following press release from Davor Savija, head of Ikaika Sports, an athletics agency based in Prague that represents several top Kenyan athletes, including World Championships 10,000m bronze medalist Rhonex Kipruto.
With the World Championships still going on, the press release didn’t get much attention, but we decided to republish it below because it is incredible. After one of Ikaika’s athletes, Vincent Yator, tested positive for a prohibited substance (testosterone, prednisone, and prednisolone), Ikaika announced that it would repay 75% of the prize money/appearance fee commissions earned from representing Yator in the 12 months preceding his positive test, with the remaining 25% of said commission being utilized for legal & administrative costs.
To our knowledge, this is the first time an agency of an athlete suspended for doping has ever made such an offer and we at LetsRun.com commend the stance. Press release in its entirety below:
Statement by Ikaika Sports regarding provisional suspension of Vincent Kipsegechi Yator of Kenya by Athletics Integrity Unit
On 2 October 2019 we learned from Athletics Integrity Unit’s (AIU) twitter account about provisional suspension of marathon athlete, Vincent Kipsegechi Yator of Kenya.
We were able to establish communication with Mr. Yator during evening of 2 October 2019 and during this phonecall Mr. Yator disclosed that he has been in communication with the AIU since August 2019, in what allegedly appears to be a confidential medical matter.
Mr. Yator decided to ignore all in-house anti-doping training, as it relates to: purchase and use of supplements, over the counter medication and prescription-grade medication; selection of medical practitioners; absolutely open, timely and boundaryless communication in relation to athlete’s health.
Mr. Yator has also decided to keep us completely unaware of any communication between himself and the AIU.
Once Mr. Yator’s case is finalized, and in case the sanctions are imposed on him, Ikaika Sports will reach out to all sporting events from which Mr. Yator had derived income from in twelve-month period preceding the date of report of adverse analytical finding, with the goal for Ikaika Sports to repay 75% of commission amount earned for sports consultancy services provided to Mr. Yator, with remaining 25% of said commission being utilized for legal & administrative costs, as it relates to this matter.
The reason for Ikaika Sports to step to the period prior to the date of report of adverse analytical finding is because we believe for such timeline to be reasonable, given that, as far as we know, there is no similar precedent that was established. We would like to emphasize that the repayment decision is a voluntary one and shall not be deemed as an admission of guilt and / or responsibility – quite the contrary, we are confident that this gesture will be interpreted as a strong anti-doping message.
We don’t see ourselves as a part of this societal problem that is placing enormous burden on professional and amateur sport – This is a collateral damage and we are going to continue to play a positive role, actively working on bettering conditions our sport finds itself in.
In case deemed necessary, we will be communicating with follow-up official statements at the later stage, the latest once matter of Mr. Yator’s provisional suspension by the AIU is completed, per established disciplinary process.
Talk about this gesture on our messageboard. MB: If only all people in our sport behaved like this, we wouldn’t have much of a drug problem
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Ikaika Sports represents half marathon world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei. That is no longer the case.