Dakar - Rules governing African athletes who controversially
transfer allegiance to other countries need a full review, the continent's
track and field supremo said Tuesday.
"Rules on nationality changes must be reviewed,"
said Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, head of the African athletics federation which is
meeting in the Senegalese capital.
"What's happening in international competitions is
There have been a host of east African middle-distance
athletes competing for other countries, many in the Gulf but also Turkey and
even the United States. Morocco and Nigeria-born athletes are also seen to be
running for other countries.
Turkey performed strongly at July's European Championship in
Amsterdam, finishing fourth, but nine of the country's 12 medals were won by
foreigners, featuring mainly Kenyans, but also including a gold for a Cuban
transferee, and sprint silvers for a Jamaican and an Azeri.
The most recent stand-out example of an African achieving
success under a different flag is Kenyan Ruth Jebet.
Also read: Kenya's world-class running matched by world-class graft
Jebet won Bahrain's first every Olympic medal when she
claimed gold in the women's 3000m steeplechase at the Rio Games and then went
on to set a new world record at the Diamond League meet in Paris.
"We want to make stricter the rules on transfers of
allegiance," IAAF president Sebastian Coe said at the time, with Jebet
explaining she quit Kenya five years ago for "animal health" studies.
France's IAAF Council member Bernard Amsalem has been
charged with investigating the trade in athletes.
"We'll go looking for the athletes in mainly Kenya, but
also Ethiopia, Morocco, Jamaica a little bit and Nigeria increasingly for the
sprinters," he said.
"Poor countries, in difficulty, it's easier to turn an
athlete from those countries by giving them a lot of money because it
represents a lot compared to their daily wage."
Jebet's father gave the game away when she was honoured in
Kenya for her Olympic gold, thanking her for enabling him to buy a house and
According to rules of the International Association of
Athletics Federations (IAAF), an athlete who has competed for one country can
only transfer allegiance to another after three years, although
intra-federation agreements often see that period shortened.
Speaking in Dakar, Malboum also reiterated his federation's
commitment to the anti-doping fight and the problem of age manipulation among
There had been a doubling of doping tests at June's African
championships in Durban, Malboum said.
All athletes from Kenya, Ethiopia and Morocco, three
countries in the IAAF's anti-doping crosshairs, had been tested before the Rio
Olympics, the Cameroonian official said, without giving details.
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