NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The judgement date for the case where teenage
distance running sensation and double World Under 20
steeplechase champion, Cellephine Cheeptek Chespol, is seeking
action against Athletics Kenya (AK) and American apparel giant
Nike is set for September 11.
petitioned the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) to void her
previous contract with Nike and Golazo Sports to allow her
validate her new agreement with Owen Andersen whom she signed as
her Athletes’ Representative in March.
The athlete took
legal action after AK declined to give her a clearance letter to
run in the 2018 IAAF Diamond League meetings in Rome (May 31),
Paris (June 30) and Monaco (July 20) before SDT ordered the
federation to give her permission to feature in the races on May
24 pending the hearing and determination of her case.
During the latest
hearing at the SDT offices in Nairobi on Tuesday afternoon,
Chespol, who was cross-examined by defence counsel, Elias Masika,
acknowledged she signed the disputed Nike and Golazo contract as
a 16 year-old at the Team Kenya camp for the Cali 2015 IAAF
World Under 17 Championships in Colombia.
“I was not given the
contract to read. I was just shown where to sign and given some
money but I do not remember the date,” Chespol who was
testifying under oath told the hearing led by Elynah Shiveka who
was sitting in for SDT chairman, John Ohaga.
led by her counsel, Sarah Ochwadah, Chespol, who had told the
court she was promised 10,000 U.S. dollars after signing the
contract, gave details of how she was rushed into signing the
document by Gregory Kilonzo.
Kilonzo was then a
Team Kenya coach for Cali 2015 and when they stepped outside the
hotel, they entered a vehicle where Nairobi AK chairman, Barnaba
Korir, who also serves as the Chairman of the Youth Committee at
the federation, was also present.
“We were at the
Milele Camp (where the national team was based then) and coach
Kilonzo told me to come down and sign a document. I asked him
what it was and he told me it was a contract,” said Kilonzo.
“I was only given
one page to sign, not the whole of it and there was no other
signature or initials in the document. I was with the coach and
Korir in a black car,” said the runner who went on to win gold
in the girls’ 2,000m steeplechase in Colombia with 6:17.15.
produced before the Tribunal that tied her to Golazo and Nike
has three pages with Kilonzo and two other individuals going by
the initials C.C and J.C are listed as witnesses.
“I was told to hurry
up and sign the contract and it was not signed by Kilonzo. I did
not write J.C and C.C and I did not sign the other pages,”
Chespol who silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast
in 9:22.61 on April 11 stressed.
She claimed Korir
and Kilonzo did not inform her at the time that Belgian Marc
Corstjens who runs Golazo would be her manager.
“It’s only when I
visited (Korir’s office) in Madaraka (Nairobi) later that I was
told Marc is my manager,” Chespol added.
At 16, she did not
have the legal capacity to enter into a contract and therefore,
needed a guardian but on cross-examination, Chespol told the
Tribunal she had not informed her parents about signing any
“I did not tell them
of the contract because my mother cannot read and she was in
Mount Elgon at the time,” the athlete who is now a two-time
World Under 20 gold winner said.
On being questioned
further by SDT member Robert Asembo, the former vice-president
of Football Kenya Federation on whether the page she was given
to sign was blank and who was present, Chespol insisted, “there
was nothing in it and it was only Kilonzo, Korir and I in the
the world under-20 women’s steeplechase record at the Eugene leg
of the IAAF Diamond League when she rocketed to victory in
8:58.78 on May 27, 2017. This remains the third fastest of all
time over the distance by a female runner.
The 19 year-old
became the first athlete to successfully defend her world U20
title at Tampere 2018 when she unfurled a 2:57.26 final 1000m to
cross the line in 9:12.78 on July 13 to hold on to the crown she
first won at Bydgoszcz 2016, Poland in 9:25.15 (July 22).
Should the SDT rule
in her favor, Chespol who is scheduled to compete at the
Brussels DL on Aug. 31, will have set a precedent as the first
Kenyan junior athlete to successfully sue AK and its biggest
sponsor Nike to be released from a contract.