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Kenyan marathoner to apply for Korean citizenship

Posted April. 10, 2015 07:18,   


Wilson Loyanai Erupe, the Kenyan marathoner who won at the 2015 Seoul International Marathon, has taken the first step toward naturalization to become a Korean citizen.

Baekseok University Professor Oh Chang-seok, the 27-year-old athlete’s coach and agent in Korea, said on Thursday, “Erupe signed a contract with the South Chungcheong Province Sports Council yesterday and was given a foreign registration number from the immigration office.” After winning the Seoul International Marathon on March 15 with a time of 2:6:11, the Kenyan marathoner expressed willingness to get Korean citizenship.

With E-6 visa for entertainers and performers, Erupe plans to enter Korea early next week and start naturalization procedures with support of the Korea Association of Athletic Federation (KAAF). “The most crucial factor in Erupe’s naturalization is the federation’s commitment,” said the Korean Olympic Committee. On this issue, KAAF President Oh Dong-jin said, “Erupe’s naturalization will help Korean marathon make a leap forward. Erupe will run as a Korean national athlete to challenge for a medal at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics, following the suit of Korean Olympic marathon gold medalists Hwang Young-jo (1992 Barcelona Olympics) and Lee Bong-joo (1996 Atlanta Olympics).”

After Legislation, Reward and Punishment Council under the Korean Olympic Committee approves naturalization of Erupe, the Nationality Review Committee of the Ministry of Justice will have a final review over the naturalization. Erupe can run as a Korean national athlete in international competitions including Olympics from one year after the acquisition of the Korean nationality.