We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Tue 16 Aug 2016 10:05 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

IAAF to consider changing rules on nationality 'transfer of allegiance'

Talks follow Bahrain's first Olympic gold won by Kenya-born Ruth Jebet

IAAF to consider changing rules on nationality 'transfer of allegiance'
Qatars handball squad (L-R) goalkeeper Danijel Saric, left wing Kamal Aldin Mallash, pivot Ameen Zakkar, pivot Borja Fernandez, right wing Nasreddine Megdich, pivot Bassel Alrayes, right wing Eldar Memisevic, left back Rafael Capote, left back Bertrand Roine, left back Marko Bagaric, pivot Hassan Mabrouk, goalkeeper Goran Stojanovic and right back Zarko Markovic pose for a group picture before the mens preliminary round Group A handball match between Qatar and France during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is reportedly considering changing rules that allow athletes to switch the country they represent in track and field.

It follows Bahrain's first Olympic gold medal, won by Ruth Jebet in the 3,000-metre steeplechase after transferring her nationality three years ago from Kenya.

Sebastian Coe's IAAF leadership discussed the issue during the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, reported the Associated Press, and "transfer of allegiance" is on the agenda for Saturday's council meeting.

The IAAF permitted a total of 85 athletes to compete for new countries in the Olympics, including 12 that now represent Bahrain that have come from African or Caribbean nations.

"It is time to review the transfer of allegiance rules to see if they are still applicable to today," the IAAF told the AP. "It's like many of the IAAF rules; they need to be reviewed over a period of time. It is right to review these rules now."

"There are so many athletes in Kenya," said 19-year-old Jebet. "In Bahrain, I get the chance to go to school."

Twenty-four-year-old Andrew Fisher transferred his allegiance from Jamaica to Bahrain in July this year, and having only visited the kingdom once, he said he would remain living on the Caribbean Island.

Fisher did not hide his search of a new nation to represent at the Olympics because he felt he could not qualify for the Jamaican team, headed by Usain Bolt.

"It was a decision that took months to come to," Fisher told the Jamaica Observer newspaper recently. "I love Jamaica and didn't think I could live anywhere else.

"The Jamaican team right now is a hard one to make, and we all have ambitions to compete at the highest level, and this was one way I saw where I could fulfil that ambition."

The Qatar
men's Olympic handball team featured a lot of European-born players,
who have been attracted by the financial rewards in a relatively
cash-strapped sport, reported AP.

Bertrand Roine won the world handball championship with France in 2011 but competed against France for Qatar last week.

"The worst feeling was during the national anthem. Ah, but what can I do?" Croatia-born Marko Bagaric said after Qatar's handball game against his former countrymen. "Qatar gave me the opportunity to play in the Olympic Games. It is the dream of any sportsman."

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.