Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Comedian Neko Gets Cambodian Citizenship, Aiming for London Olympics

translated by Brett Larner

On Nov. 9, management for Japanese comedian Hiroshi Neko, 34, announced that he became a Cambodian citizen at the beginning of this month and is targeting running the London Olympics marathon for Cambodia.  Neko will run Cambodia's Olympic selection race, the Southeast Asia Games marathon Nov. 16 in Indonesia.

According to Neko's management, the amateur runner was approached by Cambodia's Olympic committee after he finished 3rd in an international half marathon in Cambodia in December last year and aksed if he would be interested in changing his citizenship to run for Cambodia in the Olympics.  IAAF regulations with regard to citizenship changes bar athletes from competing internationally within three years of taking new citizenship.  However, according to a JAAF official the rule does not apply in Neko's case because he is not registered with the JAAF.

Neko recorded his PB of 2:37:49 at this year's Tokyo Marathon.  In August the IAAF announced that the Cambodian men's marathon national record is 2:25:20.


Brett Larner said...

I've held off on covering this story over the year because I'm not convinced the whole thing is not just a joke, but it sounds increasingly for real...

TokyoRacer said...

Yes, it's a bit difficult to decide how to react. Is he serious about running in the Olympics? Is he doing a favor for Cambodia? Or is he making a mockery of the Olympic marathon (sneaking in with a 2:37 or whatever he runs)?