Tegla Lorupe castigates young athletes who opt to change citizenship for lucrative remuneration
Kenya’s former long distance runner Tegla Loroupe has castigated Kenyans athletes who shift their allegiance to other countries to seek greener pastures.
Speaking during a joint meeting by the women mediators network Kenya (WMN-K) and mediation peace team (NMPT) at the Bomas of Kenya, Loroupe said the change of nationality by Kenyan athletes is alarming and shows lack of patriotism.
Loroupe challenged relevant sports stakeholders and the ministry of sport at large to come up with a quick solution before the menace escalates to another level.
She opines that the reasons behind the departure of Kenyan athletes to other countries vary with Kenya being a hunting ground for countries keen on tapping into its rich talent.
“Of course the shift of allegiance is about the money. They are running away in search of greener pastures and that shows lack of patriotism which also trickles down to the relevant authorities who should come up with a solution to the issue,” Loroupe said.
Loroupe, who had an impeccable career spanning two decades during her hey days, also challenged the current crop of athletes participating in the ongoing Commonwealth games to fight for the country in both good and bad times.
“With due respect, the current crop of athletes don’t have the fighting spirit and character to sojourn during difficult times. Some of them are doing it for the money or fame hence the rising number of defectors to other countries,” Loroupe said.
Loroupe’s sentiments come in the wake of a star-studded list of Kenyans turning their guns on their motherland in the just concluded 2022 Oregon Championships in Eugene.
With a burning desire for wealth, individual and national honours serve as incentives for the athletes and the countries that scout them.
Over the years, several Kenyan athletes have shifted allegiance to rival countries in major global shows.
Norah Tanui Jeruto is one of the former Kenyan internationals who managed to get a podium place finish in Oregon, United States.
Jeruto who recently switched her allegiance due to various reasons among them lack of opportunities and poor training facilities won the women’s 3,000m steeplechase in a sensational fashion.
In the process Jeruto won Kazakhstan’s first ever gold medal in a world championship event.
Lonah Korlima Salpeter is another former Kenyan athlete who clinched a medal at the 2022 World Athletics Championships.
The 35-year-old who migrated to Israel as a house help and finished third in the women’s marathon to win her adopted country a bronze medal.
Lonah crossed the finishing line behind Ethiopia’s Gotytom Gebreslase and Kenya’s Judith Jeptum Korir.
The two accomplished athletes are among the many Kenyan runners who have disowned their motherland in search of better fortunes in foreign countries.
In the meantime, Loroupe, who is a global spokeswoman for peace, women rights and education, has wished well Kenya’s team in the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Loroupe holds the world records for 25 and 30 kilometres and previously held the world marathon record.