Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) president Hamad Kalkaba Malboum has called for a review of the rules governing the transfer of allegiance to other countries.
He said it was worrisome to see Nigeria and other African countries losing their best athletes to other countries.
“What’s happening in international competitions is troubling everyone. Rules on nationality changes must be reviewed,” said Malboum in Dakar, Senegal where the CAA is meeting.
Recently discovered Nigerian junior athletes represented Bahrain at the IAAF World Junior in Poland and Rio 2016 Olympics. There have been a host of east African middle-distance athletes competing for other countries, many in the Gulf, but also Turkey and even the United States.
The most recent stand-out example of an African achieving success under a different flag is Kenyan Ruth Jebet.
Jebet won Bahrain’s first every Olympic medal when she claimed gold in the women’s 3000m steeplechase at the Rio Games, and then went on to set a new world record at the Diamond League meet in Paris.
France’s IAAF Council member Bernard Amsalem has been charged with investigating the trade in athletes.
“We’ll go looking for the athletes in mainly Kenya, but also Ethiopia, Morocco, Jamaica a little bit and Nigeria increasingly for the sprinters,” he said.