12 African Olympians Not Representing African Nations In Rio
The 2016 Olympic Games are ongoing in Rio, with numerous African Olympians doing well throughout the multi-sport competition, especially in the track athletics discipline.
In addition to the Africans who are representing countries from Africa, there is a large contingent of athletes who are African, but have decided to represent nations outside of the continent.
In some cases these African-born sports stars have always competed for their adopted countries, while in others they have decided to switch allegiance from the African country to their new home nation.
Here are 12 Olympians who are not representing their African countries of birth at the Olympic Games in Rio.
Nigerian Adekoya is not wearing the West African colours in Rio, as she switched allegiance to Bahrain in 2014. The 23-year-old is taking part in the women’s 400m race in Rio, as one of the many African Olympians who are not competing for their homeland.
The 41-year-old is back at an Olympic Games, but the Kenyan-born men’s 5,000m competitor is representing the United States. Lagat represented Kenya at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics before making the US his choice for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Rio Olympics.
Asia’s fastest male sprinter is actually a Nigerian. Ogunode made the switch to compete for Qatar some years ago, siting issues with corruption within Nigerian athletics as part of his reasoning. The sprinter, whose personal best time is 9.91 second in the 100m, took part in the race in Rio, but failed to progress from the first round.
Yasemin Can is a Turkish athlete who was born in Kenya as Vivian Jemutai. The 19-year-old is a star in the making, but represented her adopted home of Turkey rather than Kenya at Rio 2016 when she stepped out on to the track to compete in the women’s 10,000m race, in which she placed seventh.
One of four Kenyan-born athletes within the US Olympic team, Chelimo is regarded highly within athletic circles and the 25-year-old will wear the stars and stripes attire when stepping out to compete in the men’s 5,000m event in Brazil.
The 28-year-old was born in Imo State, Nigeria, but despite that fact, she represented Norway at the Olympic Games in Rio, taking on the women’s 100m sprint, but failing to progress from the first round of the competition.
Having chosen to represent Bahrain instead of her native Kenya, Chebet is amongst the fastest competitors of Kenyan birth, and as the Asian steeplechase record holder and world junior champion, she competed in her favourite race in Rio, winning gold in the 3,000m steeplechase.
The 28-year-old Ethiopian is not representing her African nation at the Summer Games, as she has decided to race for Bahrain. The women’s 5,000m champion at the 2010 Asian Games will take part in the same event in Brazil.
Abraham Kipchirchir Rotich is a Kenyan-born Bahrain middle-distance runner who took part in this year’s Olympic Games in the form of the men’s 800m event, putting him up against defending Olympic champion and fellow Kenyan, David Rudisha. Rotich did not manage to progress past the first round of the race.
Another Ethiopian on the list, Eshete competes for Bahrain, and took part in the women’s marathon in Rio. The 26-year-old first began competing for the oil-rich Gulf state in 2009, making her debut at the Asian Cross Country Championships in Manama.
Evans Kiplagat Chebet
Taking part in the Marathon at Rio 2016, Evans Kiplagat Chebet will be competing on behalf of Azerbaijan, and not his native Kenya. The athlete previously acquired Russian citizenship in order to run for the Russians, but has since made another switch to Azerbaijan.
Bor, who is a member of the US Army, qualified to compete in the steeplechase event in Rio for Team USA after he finished second in the US trials in Eugene, Oregon. The 26-year-old was born in Eldoret, Kenya, the location of the recent Kenyan Olympic trials.
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