5 October 2005

Kenyan Couple Want Bahraini Son Back Home

Nairobi — The parents of Bahraini track star Ali Mansoor Belal want their son to denounce his citizenship of the Gulf State saying he defected without their consent.

Lawrence and Sarah Kosgey, the parents of Ali Mansoor Belal, formerly John Yego of Kenya, claimed their son was under 18 years and thus could not get into any binding legal agreement without their authority.

Belal competed for Bahrain at the World Youth Championships in Morocco last July winning gold in the 1,500 metres and also ran at the World Athletic Championship in Helsinki. He is reported to have changed his citizenship in February. The couple now want the Government to investigate the circumstances that led to their son switching allegiance.

Lawrence yesterday said their son was born in October 1988 - making him 17 now - and they had not given anybody authority to act as his legal guardian.

Lawrence claimed that an agent had taken Yego under his wing without their authority and proceeded to facilitate the change of nationality.

"The perceived coach, guardian and manager (of Yego) has no authority from us to act in the said capacity and, therefore, should be questioned by the Government on the circumstances that led to the selling of our son," Lawrence said in a signed statement. "Our son is still under 18 years and we have the right as parents to control and show him the way to be patriotic and nationalistic," he added.

Mansoor's victory in Morocco was blighted by allegations that his minders had cheated on his age, forcing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to seek clarification from Athletics Kenya (AK).

AK officials would not comment on Belal's parents' demands yesterday while neither Belal, who is still in Bahrain, nor his agents could immediately be reached. Cases of under-age Kenyan runners being lured overseas by unscrupulous agents have been on the increase.

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