Running is a profession unlike any other. If a journalist, a doctor, a farmer, a lawyer or any other professional is free to look for greener pastures out of their countries, I do not see any good reason why runners should not have the same freedoms to move to a country where they believe their services will be more valuable and appreciated and settle there.
|Kaan Ozbilen running in a past event|
Over the weekend, Kenyans continued to show their supremacy in long distance running by winning a number of races around the world, including the Honolulu marathon where Brigid Kosgei and Lawrence Cherono defended both the men and women titles by setting new course records. There were some fans with some concerns though when two Turkish athletes, Kaan Kigen Ozbilen and Can Yasemin, won the men and women European cross country titles and their origins were traced back to Kenya. Some fans seem to be uncomfortable with the fact that athletes with an East African origin who have changed their citizenships and now represent other nations are winning races for their new nations. However, it is hard to pin-point the exact reason for the discomfort. Is it the fear that the East Africans are unbeatable? Is it the issue of unleveled playing field? Or, is it an issue with feelings?
Some runners have begun steering away from the notion that athletes with Kenyan origin have to be avoided in races for them to win and the results can be seen: USA's Shalane Flanagan just beat the women's marathon record holder, Mary Keitany to win the New York City Marathon; Galen Rupp beat the two times world champion, Abel Kirui to win the Chicago marathon while Sondre Moen of Norway beat Uganda's world champion, Stephen Kiprotich to win the Fukuoka marathon.