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Kenyan Marathon Runner Erupe to Enter South Korea Next Week to Begin Naturalization Procedures

translated by Brett Larner

After shining as the champion of the 2015 Seoul International Marathon, Wilson Loyanae Erupe (Kenya, 27), has taken the first step toward South Korean naturalization.  Serving as Erupe's coach and domestic representative, on April 9 Professor Chang Seok Oh of Baekseok University told reporters, "Erupe signed a contract with the South Chungcheong Provincial Sports Association on April 8 and received a foreign registration number from immigration authorities."

After winning the March 15 Seoul International Marathon in 2:06:11 Erupe indicated that he was interested in transferring his citizenship to South Korea.  He plans to enter South Korea next week on an E-6 Entertainer and Performer visa to begin naturalization procedures with the support of the Korean Association of Athletics Associations (KAAF).  A Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) spokesperson commented, "Above all, the most important factor in Erupe's naturalization is the support of the KAAF."  With regard to this KAAF president Dong Jin Oh said, "Erupe's naturalization will make an important contribution to the forward development of South Korean marathoning.  As a South Korean citizen he will run in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, contending for the medal that has eluded us since the days of 1992 Barcelona Olympics gold medalist Young Cho Hwang and 1996 Atlanta Olympics silver medalist Bong Ju Lee."

After the Korean Olympic Committee's Legal Reward and Punishment Committee authorizes Erupe's naturalization application it will be sent to the South Korean Ministry of Justice's Nationality Review Committee for final processing.  If Erupe receives South Korean citizenship he will eligible to compete for South Korea in the Olympics after one year.

Translator's note: The article does not mention that Erupe was suspended from February 2013 to February 2015 for a positive test for EPO.  His win in Seoul in March was his first race after his suspension ended.


Metts said…
Very sad but very interesting. I'm sure those already on the national marathon training teams and or the few pro teams are very unhappy about this. Also it will be interesting to see how this plays out with the ultra-right,or even generaal population who will say he doesn't have Korean blood.
Metts said…
Korean sports agencies/federations can be very political sometimes so will also be interesing to see the potential infighting and politics this might bring.

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