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Kenya commends new IAAF rules
to curb rampant athletes’ transfers       

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan upcoming athletes will have to wait until they turn 21 before they can apply to switch allegiance and compete for a foreign country.

This was part of the recommendations from the Transfer of Allegiance Working Group, which was endorsed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) council meeting on Tuesday.

This will help curb the disappearance of young athletes to oil rich Arab countries who are seeking to impact at the global stage.

Kenya was specifically stun when Ruth Jebet emerged on the global stage at the World Championships in Bahrain colors after failing to show up in the country’s trials. He went on to win gold in Rio Olympics over the 3,000m steeplechase distance.

Nobody had known Jebet’s potential, except the hawk eyes Bahraini agents who airlifted him from Eldoret, with a promise to help her poor mother end her impoverished life.

“Ideally, the vest that you start your international career with is the vest you should end your international career with. With a few exceptions,” said Seb Coe, the IAAF President.

Another key recommendation adopted requires athletes to have a minimum three-year waiting period to transfer from one country to another.

There must also be evidence that countries are offering full citizenship and associated rights with the provision that an athlete can transfer only once in their career and that no transfers take place before the age of 20.

Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei welcomed the move saying it will help end the animosity and betrayal that has become rampant in the sport.

“We have a cushion that will be accepted to either side. Nobody can pounce on your athlete without your approval and knowledge,” he said.

IAAF also passed that a review panel will be established which will determine the credibility of applications by athletes seeking to change nationality.

“While the specific rules are being drafted for approval at the July meeting of Council in Buenos Aires, the IAAF’s current freeze on transfers will remain in effect,” said Coe.

Kenya alone has over 50 athletes competing for other countries from USA, Turkey, France, Qatar, Bahrain and Azerbaijan. Ethiopia has also been hit hard with numerous transfers.


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