Kenya denies Lagat waiver to run for U.S.

Updated: January 10, 2006, 8:58 AM ET

By Isa Omok

NAIROBI, Jan 10 - Kenya has turned down a request from twice Olympic medallist Bernard Lagat to defend his world indoor 3,000 metres title in Moscow as a U.S. competitor.

Lagat became a naturalised U.S. citizen in May 2004, but under International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules he is ineligible to race for the country in international competitions for three years after citizenship unless given a waiver by Kenya's federation.

"We received the request but after careful consideration, we ruled it was not possible to allow Lagat to run for his new nation in Moscow until he clears the mandatory years of eligibility," Athletics Kenya Chairman Isiah Kiplagat told reporters on Tuesday.

"It is that simple and we don't intend to make it a big issue. Lagat just has to wait for the years to elapse before running for the U.S."

The waiver would have also allowed Lagat, 31, to compete in next month's U.S. championships in Boston.

Lagat won a bronze medal for Kenya in the 1,500 metres at the 2000 Sydney Olympics then took silver in the 2004 Athens Games.

He also won silver medals in the 1,500 metres at the 2001 and 2003 world indoor championships before clinching the world indoor 3,000 metres title in 2004.

Athletics Kenya's rejection of Lagat's request means he has to wait until 2007 to represent United States at the world outdoor championships in Osaka, Japan.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index