AK had sought IAAF Council intervention on citizenship change

AK President, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei. PHOTO/File
AK President, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei. PHOTO/File

Athletics Kenya (AK) had written to the Confederation of Africa Athletics to push for change of citizenship to discussed as an agenda at the IAAF Council Meeting on Monday where a freeze on transfer of allegiance in the sport was announced.

According to federation President Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei, AK was concerned over the increasing number of local runners being recruited to represent other nations in international competition.

He was reacting after Citizen TV and Citizen Digital showed him a video of underage Kenyan born athletes in Kapsabet, Nandi County that are training to represent their adopted nation of Bahrain as part of the Medals for Passport report.

“We have written to the president of CAA Hamad Kalkaba Malboum who is also an IAAF Vice-President to suggest that one of the items on the agenda at the Council is the discussion of the rules governing the change of allegiance

“I believe after the Council Meeting in Monaco, we should be able to hear from the IAAF what their feeling is because, it does not only affect Kenyan athletes though we are the most affected and that is why we are most concerned,” Tuwei said last Thursday before leaving for Monaco.

Following a proposal presented by IAAF President, Lord Sebastian Coe, the Council agreed to suspend the transfer of allegiance until a working group, supervised by Kalkaba set up to study the subject area, will submit proposals for new rules as a matter of urgency and no later than the end of this year.

“Quite a number of our athletes could end up changing allegiance and running for other countries and not only Bahrain, I think many other countries may want to come in and take some of our runners.

“This is purely because of the rules and regulations that are in place in terms of changing of allegiance,” the retired Kenya Army chief said before leaving for the Council Meeting in Monaco.

The CAA chief will be working with Japan Association of Athletics Federations President; Hiroshi Yokokawa who is leading the work group with 15 transfer of allegiance pending cases not affected by the decision.


At the same, Tuwei insisted Kenyan dominance in distance running would not be compromised by nations tapping local talent.

“In preparing a team for the major championships it’s not really the amount of time you spend in a camp but it is the amount of time that you spend in organizing a programme.

‘”In our case we start our cross county in November and you know that we have already gone through seven series already and given every region an opportunity to organize a cross-country,” the AK chief said.

Kenya will select its team during the IAAF Permit/AK National Cross-Country Championships on February 18.

“Every country aims to be number one. But when you prepare a team you want to go and win and that is what we are preparing for. It not the amount of time you spend in camp you can spend whole year in the camp but how do you plan for that or improve on that.

“In our case we take the team to camp to polish and to have what we call team work because cross-country is teamwork,” Tuwei underscored.

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