CONTROVERSY: Did London Marathon champion Kelvin Kiptum dump Qiadon sportswear for Nike?
Kenyan athlete Kelvin Kiptum, days after winning the London Marathon in style, is battling accusations of a breach of contract in sportswear.
As per Spanish magazine Corredor, Kiptum signed a contract with Chinese brand Qiaodon worth more than Sh15 million after winning the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Marathon 2022 with the third best mark of all time (2:01:53).
The contract reportedly entailed the Chinese brand dressing and equipping him.
The athlete, through his representative Marc Corstjens, accepted the offer and signed the contract on January 15, 2023.
The article further states the China sportswear brand began promoting the agreement with the Kenyan athlete after the deal and even traveled to Kenya to share time with the athlete.
Taking advantage of this trip, the members of the Qiaodan expedition to the African country met with representatives of Kenyan Athletics, the national athletics federation, to try to make a rapprochement for the future.
“Everything seemed to be going smoothly; Kiptum had signed the contract, had collected it and had started using the Chinese brand’s material while preparing for the London Marathon on April 23. But here the trouble begins,” the article states in part.
Weeks after that first trip and with the aim of accompanying their new athlete to the London Marathon, Quiaodan’s representatives traveled to Kenya again. They shared time with Kiptum, but two days before traveling to London the athlete disappeared. He did not pick up the phone and no one knew his whereabouts.
The representatives of the Chinese brand gave up and traveled to London to enjoy the marathon, make contacts and also try to check the situation of their athlete , who planned to run in one of the six ‘majors’ and endorse his registration. From Valencia.
The surprise for the members of the Qiaodan delegation in London came at the presentation of the test held in which Kelvin Kiptum appeared in the same dress as the official clothing of the Nike athletes. The American firm was the sponsor (or continues to be) of the athlete when he achieved his spectacular record in the Valencia Marathon, but after the agreement with Qiaodan, no one could expect a new change of direction from Kiptum.
Nairobi news understands the Chinese brand is considering legal action on Kiptum.
Controversy aside, Kiptum won the London Marathon on April 23, 2023 after recording the second fastest time in history over the distance.
The 23-year-old Kenyan runner also set the course record with a time of 2 hours, 1 minute, 25 seconds, missing out on Eliud Kipchoge’s world record by 16 seconds.