April 26th 2017

Sports / Updates

AK wants IAAF nationality switch rules reviewed

"There was the case of a Kenyan athlete who switched citizenship to a country I don't want to name, his new country had bad blood with a neighbour, so when the athlete ran in the neighbouring country, he was stripped of  his citizenship," he said.

By David JagongoTuesday, 28 Mar 2017 18:55 EAT

AK chairman Lt Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei. Photo/ File.

Athletics Kenya, unhappy with the rate at which Kenyan athletes are changing their nationalities for personal gain, wants IAAF rules and regulations on the same reviewed for everybody's good. AK chairman Lt Gen (rtd) Jack Tuwei, the IAAF should put in place change of allegiance rules that protect all, especially athletes who may end up losing when the situation changes in their newly-adapted countries.

He said Government and  national federations should be involved, more so the athlete in the event of other eventualities after the athlete switches allegiance. Mr Tuwei, speaking Monday night at a dinner hosted by the Sports Ministry for the triumphant Kenyan athletes  to Sunday's 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, said some of the athletes need protection from mistreatment by their newly-adapted country.

In Kampala, Kenya won the team title and swept the six top positions in the senior women's race, won the inaugural mixed relays, among other achievements. "We will submit our proposals to the IAAF meeting on April 12. We are sending our lawyer, Jinaro Kibet to the meeting. Mr Kibet is also a vice-chairman the federation.

Tuwei asked those who have suggestions to forward them to AK before April 12. "There was the case of a Kenyan athlete who switched citizenship to a country I don't want to name, his new country had bad blood with a neighbour, so when the athlete ran in the neighbouring country, he was stripped of his citizenship," he said.

He was apparently referring to long distance runner Leonard Mucheru  who switched allegiance to Bahrain, and, ran in Israel, apparently unaware of the bad blood between Israel and Bahrain. Stripped of Bahraini citizenship, he returned home.

Though the case of Mucheru, who later adapted an arabic name, Mushir Salem Jawhir was extreme, chances of other Kenyans in suffering in silence in foreign land, are fairly high.

There is a good number of Kenyan athletes who have switched allegiance to the Middle East countries and America. Wilson Kipketer is a Kenyan-born Dane is a former middle distance runner until 2012  he held the 800m world indoor record 1:42.87.

As recent as Sunday, at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in kampala a good number of Team USA members, were Americans of Kenyan origin.

General Tuwei believes home is best: "Flying back to Nairobi from Kampala I was in the same plane with athletes representing different countries, who  landed in Nairobi before heading to their respective homes in Kenya, home is best,'' he said.

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