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South Korea Plans to Give Citizenship to Kenyan Athlete to Ensure Marathon Gold at Rio Olympics

translated by Brett Larner

According to South Korea's Dong-A Ilbo news organization, the South Korean Athletics Federation intends to go forward with a plan to offer citizenship to Kenyan Wilson Loyanae Erupe, winner of the men's race at last weekend's Seoul International Marathon, so that he can win the gold medal wearing South Korean colors at next year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.  The news appeared in the March 18 edition of the Gyeongju Daily.

At the Seoul International Marathon on March 15 Erupe won in 2:06:11, a race he also won three years ago.  His representative, who serves as director of the South Korean Athletics Federation, commented, "Erupe wants to get South Korean citizenship so that he can run the Rio Olympics for South Korea next year."  The transfer would require the approval of Athletics Kenya, but since Erupe is not a member of the Kenyan national team, the South Korean side said, "there is no real obstacle to this happening."

Translator's note: The article does not mention that between his two Seoul wins Erupe tested positive for EPO and served a two-year suspension that ran out last month.


Metts said…
Very sad as they can't seem to produce any more Lee Bong Ju's in the system. Living here I don't see much of a real system to develop world class competitive elite level distance runners or track and field athletes.
Metts said…
SK federations for years have been trying to get citizenship for foreigners for thier basketball and soccer(football) teams but without much success. SK athletes in some sports have moved on to other countries, mainly in archery, some even to Japan. The most notable is Victor Ahn, a short track skater who was very successful in SK but because of alleged politics, offered his services to Russia.
Richard Stevens said…
It was a 'buy or build' proposition.

The Koreans went for the 'buy' proposition; they don't have a lot of time (1 year) to develop a Korean.
Richard Stevens said…
Buy or Build decision.

Korea decided to 'buy', not build. No time to build anyway.

And if a 'Korean' wins then it will motivate other 'Koreans', right?

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