By Dare Esan:
Marathoner Mary Akor says she is keen to don the green and white colours of Nigeria this summer in Rio at the 28th Olympic Games.
Akor ran 2 hours, 41 minutes to come sixth at the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon last weekend in Lagos to reconfirm her qualification for the summer games after beating for the second time this year the (2:45:00) entry standard set by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
"I am delighted to be back home and will relish donning the green and white colours of my fatherland," said Akor who last represented her country of residence, United States of America, in 2007.
Akor believes she can run faster than the personal season's best she set at the Lagos City Marathon last Saturday in Lagos.
"I still hold the 2:40:37 Nigeria record I set way back in 2004 in St. Louis, United States," she said and hopes to talk to the Athletic Federation of Nigeria to begin the process of confirming her eligibility.
"I'm free to compete for Nigeria because the last time I competed for the USA for almost 10 years ago which is more than the three years the IAAF rules for an athlete with dual citizenship to sit out before automatically becoming eligible to compete for his/her country of choice."
Akor explained that there should be no argument over her eligibility because the rules are clear on it.
Complete Sports checks on the IAAF eligibility rules corroborated Akor's claims as rule 5.4(e) reads thus: "if an athlete holds Citizenship of two (or more) Countries (or territories), he may represent the Member of either (or any) of them, as he may elect. However, having once represented his elected Member in an international Competition under Rules 1.1(a), (b), (c), (f) or (g), he shall not represent another Member of which he is a Citizen for a period of three years from the date that he last represented the first elected Member."