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Last Updated: Monday, 8 January 2007, 17:15 GMT
Kenya refuses to take runner back
Mushir Salem Jawher
Mushir Salem Jawher said he did not know he could not run in Israel
Kenyan authorities say they will not give their nationality back to a top athlete who defected to Bahrain, before being stripped of his new citizenship.

Mushir Salem Jawher, born Leonard Mucheru, is now stateless after running a marathon in Israel, which Bahrain does not recognise.

He had used his Kenyan passport to enter Israel but this has been revoked.

Israeli media said Mr Jawher was the first athlete from an Arab country to compete in an Israeli marathon.

After learning that he had lost his Bahraini nationality, Mr Jawher told Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper that he was "shocked".

"I was never told it was illegal to enter Israel. I really don't know what to do."


In a statement issued on Saturday, the Bahrain Athletic Association said it had received news that a Bahraini national had competed in Israel with "shock and regret".

A committee of sport and government authorities decided to strike Mr Jawher's name off the sport union records and revoke his Bahraini nationality, the statement said.

It said Mr Jawher entered Israel with his Kenyan passport and that the runner had "violated the laws of Bahrain".

Kenya does not allow dual nationality and Mr Jawher was supposed to have given up his passport in 2003 when he defected to Bahrain.

Mr Jawher won the Tiberias marathon in just over two hours and 13 minutes.

He is one of several long-distance athletes to have moved from East Africa to the Gulf in recent years on lucrative contracts.

The defections have provoked anger in Kenya.

BBC sports reporter Alex Capstick says payment for the transfer in the form of new facilities in Kenya has been slow to materialise, and not all athletes who make the move receive the privileged lifestyle they expected.

Bahrain athlete loses citizenship
07 Jan 07 |  Middle East
Ex-Kenyan athletes ban 'unfair'
13 Apr 05 |  Africa
Country profile: Bahrain
15 Nov 06 |  Country profiles


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