On Aug. 1, Sina Sports reported that Kenyan marathoner Wilson Loyanae Erupe has been granted his long-sought after transfer of nationality to South Korea. Former South Korean national marathon coach Chang Seok Oh, who now represents Erupe, made the announcement of Erupe's acquisition of South Korean citizenship on July 31. Erupe, 29, has been based in South Korea since June, 2015. His application for South Korean citizenship in April, 2016 was rejected, but after two years he has now successfully completed the naturalization process.
Erupe's best time of 2:05:13 was set at the March, 2016 Seoul International Marathon, far beyond the current South Korean national record of 2:07:20. It is to be expected that Erupe will serve as a catalyzing agent in the long-stagnant South Korean men's marathon scene, but according to the provisions laid out by the IAAF board of directors last week, "Naturalized athletes may not compete as a national team member for 3 years." As a result of this provision Erupe would not be eligible to compete for South Korea at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Erupe is expected to make his debut as a "Korean" at the Oct. 21 Gyeongju International Marathon in South Korea.
Translator's note: Erupe previously served a two-year suspension after testing positive for EPO, which he blamed on medicine he had taken for malaria. His suspension was cited in the previous failure of his application for citizenship. More background on this story here and here.
translated by Brett Larner