Four Kenyans set to receive Russian citizenship

Moscow: Four Kenyan long distance runners, who expressed their desire to receive Russian citizenship, will try their skills at the country`s nationals in Kazan from July 23-26, local press reported Friday.

Evans Kiplagat, Isaac Kipkemboi, Nicolas Chepseba and Amos Kibitok, who have recently joined the physical culture academy in Kazan, will compete off the record at the 1500m, 5000m distances and in the 3000m steeplechase.

"Those guys aren`t Russian citizens yet and cannot battle officially for the podium places at the Russian nationals," the country`s national team head coach Valentin Maslakov was quoted as saying by Sport-Express daily.

"But they expressed their desire to compete in Kazan and have the full right to participate in the championships."

Earlier this week the Kenyan runners took part in the Cup of Russia at the 10,000m distance with Kibitok finishing fourth with a time of 28min 29.69sec.

Russia`s Tatarstan republic athletics federation supervisor Dinar Zigangirov said that the four Kenyans will likely receive Russia`scitizenship soon.

"The process of Kenyans` naturalization is currently in progress," he told Sport-Express.

"We`re hoping that soon they will be granted Russian citizenship. Of course they will not compete for Russia at the European championships in Zurich in August. But we hope to decide this issue by the end of this year."

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