Skip to main content

Kenyan Marathon Runner Erupe to Enter South Korea Next Week to Begin Naturalization Procedures

http://japanese.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2015041046598

translated by Brett Larner

After shining as the champion of the 2015 Seoul International Marathon, Wilson Loyanae Erupe (Kenya, 27), has taken the first step toward South Korean naturalization.  Serving as Erupe's coach and domestic representative, on April 9 Professor Chang Seok Oh of Baekseok University told reporters, "Erupe signed a contract with the South Chungcheong Provincial Sports Association on April 8 and received a foreign registration number from immigration authorities."

After winning the March 15 Seoul International Marathon in 2:06:11 Erupe indicated that he was interested in transferring his citizenship to South Korea.  He plans to enter South Korea next week on an E-6 Entertainer and Performer visa to begin naturalization procedures with the support of the Korean Association of Athletics Associations (KAAF).  A Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) spokesperson commented, "Above all, the most important factor in Erupe's naturalization is the support of the KAAF."  With regard to this KAAF president Dong Jin Oh said, "Erupe's naturalization will make an important contribution to the forward development of South Korean marathoning.  As a South Korean citizen he will run in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, contending for the medal that has eluded us since the days of 1992 Barcelona Olympics gold medalist Young Cho Hwang and 1996 Atlanta Olympics silver medalist Bong Ju Lee."

After the Korean Olympic Committee's Legal Reward and Punishment Committee authorizes Erupe's naturalization application it will be sent to the South Korean Ministry of Justice's Nationality Review Committee for final processing.  If Erupe receives South Korean citizenship he will eligible to compete for South Korea in the Olympics after one year.

Translator's note: The article does not mention that Erupe was suspended from February 2013 to February 2015 for a positive test for EPO.  His win in Seoul in March was his first race after his suspension ended.

Comments

Metts said…
Very sad but very interesting. I'm sure those already on the national marathon training teams and or the few pro teams are very unhappy about this. Also it will be interesting to see how this plays out with the ultra-right,or even generaal population who will say he doesn't have Korean blood.
Metts said…
Korean sports agencies/federations can be very political sometimes so will also be interesing to see the potential infighting and politics this might bring.

Most-Read This Week

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…

Ayuko Suzuki Leaves for Altitude Training in Boulder Motivated for the Marathon

2017 London World Championships 5000 m and 10000 m runner Ayuko Suzuki (25, Japan Post) left from Narita Airport on Sept. 18 for altitude training in Boulder, Colorado.

Two days earlier at a half marathon in Czech Republic, Yuta Shitara (25, Honda), like Suzuki born in 1991, broke the 10-year-old Japanese men's half marathon national record in a time of 1:00:17. "It's a big motivation to see an athlete the same age as me doing something like that," she said. Showing her determination to be one of her generation's leaders, she added, "I'll be 28 [at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics], right in my prime mentally and physically. I want to run big too."

In the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics Suzuki has the marathon in sight along with the track. "I need to run a half marathon and marathon somewhere once to check [how well they suit me]," she said. "Coach and I will be talking about it." If everything goes according to plan, December's Sanyo …

New Half Marathon NR Holder Yuta Shitara's Twin Brother Keita Joins Hitachi Butsuryu Corporate Team

Having left the Konica Minolta men's corporate team at the end of March this year, Keita Shitara, 25, announced on Sept. 19 that he will join the Hitachi Butsuryu team. The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 20.

As a member of Toyo University Shitara was part of two Hakone Ekiden-winning teams before joining Konica Minolta following his graduation in 2014. His first year at Konica Minolta Shitara ran New Year Ekiden national championships' toughest stage, but since his second year he has experienced a slump. Saying, "I need to change my environment in order to get my head straight and back on track," Shitara chose to leave the team at the end of March, returning to Toyo as his training base.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team came into being in April, 2012 as the successor to the Hitachi Cable Marathon Team. It is based in Matsudo, Chiba. Under the leadership of head coach Manabu Kitaguchi, 45, it has grown steadily, placing 10th at this year's New Year Ekiden.…