4 Kenyan athletes switch allegiance to Kazakhstan

One of the athletes, Jeruto is a Diamond League winner

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Norah Jeruto formerly of Kenya celebrates winning the Women's 3000m Steeplechase during the Weltklasse Zurich, part of the Wanda Diamond League at Stadium Letzigrund on September 09, 2021 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Four Kenyan-born athletes have been granted Kazakhstan citizenship to represent the country at the international level.

Norah Jeruto, Daisy Jepkemei, Shadrack Koech and Caroline Chepkoech switched their international allegiance in a bid to get more opportunities to compete on the global stage.

The four who had already taken oath to denounce their country of birth had initially been denied an opportunity to represent the ninth largest nation in the world but are now legible after World Athletics approved their switch of allegiance.

Jeruto's move to transfer allegiance comes as a shock for many as she opened the year with an impressive win at the Valencia 10km run in Spain as well as the Discovery Kenya Cross Country Championship in Eldoret.

The 2016 Africa Championship 3000m steeplechase is a Diamond League winner in 2021 after she overcame World 3,000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng to take the top gong.

Rule 1.4.2 of the World Athletics Charter states that athletes who gain new citizenship or wish to change their status can do so if three years have passed since they competed for their previous country.

It has become the norm to see Kenyan-born athletes line up for other nations at major competitions around the world.

Kenyan athletes have competed for countries including the USA, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several others.

Several Kenyan athletes have represented Bahrain including Ruth Jebet who switched nationalities as a 16-year old in 2013, and in the Rio 2016 Olympics won Bahrain’s first Gold medal, in the 3000m Women’s Steeplechase.

Four Kenyan-born athletes who represented the USA in the Rio 2016 Olympics were part of a U.S Army program which offered them world-class athletics training in exchange for their allegiance.

The United States pays its athletes a whooping Sh4.2 million Olympic Gold Medal bonus, compared to Kenya’s Sh1.1 million (Gold), Sh842,000 for Silver and Sh569,500 for Bronze.

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