NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s athletics officials said Saturday they
have launched investigations on three local athletes who changed
nationality to become citizens of Kazakhstan.
Athletics Kenya (AK)
President, Jack Tuwei said the association will probe the
circumstances under which the trio deserted their training camp
in Iten town, the cradle of Kenya’s athletics and switched
allegiance to the Central Asian country.
“The runners are
still minors who need guidance from their seniors. We will delve
into the matter and any coach or manager who shall be found
culpable of assisting them to translocate will have action taken
against them according to the laws of the land,” the president
said during the National Athletics Cross Country Championships
held in Nairobi.
“Whereas it is not
an offence to change nationality, those who wish to do so must
follow the right procedures, which the three runners did not,”
switch allegiance to run for other countries and regions due to
reasons that range from financial constraints, lack of
recognition in their home country and high competition in the
athletics-mad East African nation.
Over 40 Kenyan
runners decamped to other countries and regions and during the
2016 Rio Olympic Games with 20 ‘defectors’ competing against
their Kenyan counterparts in track and field events.
quadrennial global competition, Ruth Jebet won the gold medal
for Bahrain in 3,000m women’s steeplechase race in a time of
8:58.81 and missed the world record by a small margin.
However, she smashed
the eight-year old world record 12 days later during a Diamond
League race in Paris.
During the cross
country event, Kenya selected a team of 30 runners to represent
the country at the 5th Africa Cross Country
Championships scheduled for Mar.17 in Chlef, Algeria.
During the athletics meet Tuwei said that any athlete, coach or
manager who will be caught engaging in the doping menace will
forever be banned from any activity related to the sport in the