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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 17:13 GMT
Rogge condemns mercenary athletes
IOC chief Jacques Rogge
Rogge has hit out at athletes who switch athletes for non-legitimate reasons
International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge has hit out at athletes who switch nationalities for cash gain.

An increasing number of athletes are opting to represent countries for the financial benefits and Rogge believes that is against the Olympic spirit.

"What is not legitimate is when an athlete sells himself as a mercenary." Rogge told Eurosport.

"The athlete will keep the nationality only for the time of their career then, only God knows what they will do."

Rogge made the comments in the same week as Austrian skier Josef Strobl announced plans to compete at next year's Winter Olympics for Slovenia.

However, Strobl, who faces stiff competition in Austria, is switching to his great-grandfather's nationality in order to guarantee selection for the Games.

Olympic steeplechase champion Stephen Cherono controversially switched nationalities from Kenya to Qatar, for a reported $1,000 a month.

He had no previous links to the Gulf state, who were previously poorly represented in athletics, and went on to change his name to Shaheen Saif Saaeed.

World 1500m champion Rashid Ramzi is Moroccan-born but now runs for Bahrain, who are also now represented by several Kenyans.

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