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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 January 2007, 10:57 GMT
Bahrain athlete loses citizenship
Mushir Salem Jawher
Mushir Salem Jawher was born in Kenya
A Bahraini athlete who ran and won a marathon in Israel without permission has been stripped of his citizenship.

Bahrain's sport authorities said Mushir Salem Jawher, who was born in Kenya but moved to Bahrain in 2003, had violated the laws of the country.

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

Bahrain has no official ties with the Jewish state but Mr Jawher said he was "very proud" to have taken part.

'Shock and regret'

"This is outside the rules and he went to Israel without telling anyone," Mohammed Abdul Jalal, the head of the Bahrain Athletics Association, told Reuters news agency.

Following the race on Thursday, Israel's Jerusalem Post newspaper quoted Mr Jawher, whose original name is Leonard Mucheru, as saying Bahrain was a "free country" and "people should live together in harmony".

"When I decided to come I didn't know it was history for me to be here, but when I arrived [I was] told no other athlete had competed in Israel.

"For me, it was no problem and I hope to come back and compete next year," he said.

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".

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


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Bahrain
15 Nov 06 |  Country profiles

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