Skip to main content

Special Session to Decide Tomorrow Whether Erupe Will Become South Korea's First Black Marathoner

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The symbol of yin and yang upon his chest, a black man may become the first of his kind to represent South Korea in the marathon.  On April 6 the Korean Sports Council (KSC) will hold a session to deliberate on a special recommendation of naturalization for Kenyan-born marathoner Wilson Loyanae Erupe (28, Cheongyang).  Erupe also has the Korean name Joo Han Oh, meaning "I will run for Korea."  The KSC previously held a session on Erupe's naturalization on January 7 but, citing a lack of adequate documentation concerning Erupe's prior suspension for performance-enhancing drug use, postponed making a recommendation.  Erupe claimed that, "The positive result was due to medicine I took for malaria, but Athletics Kenya did not accept this and suspended me for two years."

Following the postponement of the recommendation, the Korean Amateur Athletic Federation (KAAF) applied to the KSC for the special recommendation session after gathering further documentation.  The documentation includes records indicating Erupe's admission to a local hospital in Kenya and certification of verification of these records by the Korean General Hospital.  A KAAF spokesperson commented, "In consultation with domestic malaria experts we have confirmed that prescriptions for the drug in question were unavoidable at the time."

Having served a two-year suspension from competition, the outcome of Erupe's special naturalization hearing will hinge upon whether or not there was willful use of prohibited substances.  KAAF development committee director Bok Ju Kim commented, "Generally speaking, if the goal is to take this drug to improve performance, it must be administered three times a week over the course of two weeks.  Erupe tested positive in out-of-competition testing, not during post-race testing.  Additionally, in other cases to date athletes' abilities have rapidly declined after being caught for drug use.  In Erupe's case it is exactly the opposite."  Prior to his positive drug test Erupe ran 2:05:37 at the March, 2012 Seoul International Marathon, the course record at the time.  In March this year he won Seoul again in a PB time of 2:05:13, a new South Korean all-comers' record and the 4th-fastest time in the world to date this year.

Following his Seoul victory Erupe spent time with his sponsor team Cheongyang Namudo before leaving South Korea on Mar. 27 to return to Kenya for training.  His representative in the naturalization process, Baekseok University professor Chang Suk Oh commented, "Erupe's goal is not just to run in the Olympics, but to act as a leader in South Korea and to make contributions to South Korean marathoning.  If his naturalization is confirmed he plans to return to South Korea immediately."


Metts said…

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi and Kiyara Live Up to Expectations With Wan Jin Shi Wins

Returning to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon after having first run it in 2016, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:14:12 to score his fourth-straight marathon win in a third-straight wire-to-wire solo performance. Choosing the hilly Wan Jin Shi Marathon as his final main tuneup for next month's Boston Marathon, Kawauchi came out swinging, leading an all-African pack of seven by almost 10 seconds after the tough uphill opening 5 km and stretching that out to over two minutes by the turnaround point at halfway.

On track to break the 2:13:05 course record by more than two minutes. under sunny skies with temperatures climbing to 22C and nearly 80% humidity Kawauchi began to slow incrementally. Behind him, Johnstone Kibet Maiyo (Kenya) and Aredome Tiuyay Degefa (Ethiopia) separated from the chase pack and began to push each other in pursuit of the top spot. With every 5 km split the gap to Kawauchi narrowed. At 40 km Maiyo threw down to get rid of Degefa, blasting the dow…

Kawauchi and Kiyara Headline Wan Jin Shi Marathon

Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returns to Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon this Sunday for his marathon of the post-Yuta Shitara era. The runner-up in Wan Jin Shi in 2016, Kawauchi is ranked #1 in the field and comes to Wan Jin Shi with wins in his last three marathons but faces a solid field including fellow sub-2:10 man Peter Kiplagat Sitenei, last year's runner-up Tsegaye Debele (Ethiopia), and the only man to beat him last time around, 2016 winner and course record holder William Chebon Chebor (Kenya). Kawauchi plans to use the hilly race as a tune-up for his main marathon of the spring season, April's Boston Marathon.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Rael Kiyara Nguriatukei (Kenya), winner of the 2012 Hamburg Marathon before being stripped of her title and suspended for a positive post-race test for norandrosterone, has the fastest recent time in the women's field with a 2:26:22 winning time at last year's Chongqing Marathon. Close behind is Chemtai …

Katanishi Scores Best-Ever Japanese Collegiate Placing at United Airlines NYC Half

Wearing bib #21 on his 21st birthday, 2017 World University Games half marathon gold medalist Kei Katanishi (Komazawa University) turned in the best-ever Japanese collegiate placing at the United Airlines NYC Half, taking 7th in 1:03:05 just 26 seconds off the win.

Katanishi and his Komazawa teammate Shogo Ise earned invites to the NYC Half by taking the top two Japanese collegiate spots at last November's Ageo City Half Marathon. Off the tougher new New York course both Katanishi and Ise ran in the lead group for the first two-thirds of the race, Ise near the front and Katanishi biding his time at the back of the pack. When the first real move came on the uphill approaching Times Square Katanishi was quick to reposition himself into the top three just off the shoulder of leader Dathan Ritzenhein (U.S.A.), staying in the action and looking smooth through the first set of Central Park hills. "I just took the early part easy and watched the others and what was going," Kat…