Won marathon, but lost citizenship

Sunday, January 07, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
It was a bittersweet victory for Kenyan born athlete Mushir Salem Jawher who won the Tiberius Marathon Thursday. The Arab Emirate of Bahrain, where Jawher has been a citizen for the past three years, has decided to revoke his citizenship for breaking the law in participating in an Israeli event.

Jawher, 28, who only ran 10 kilometer races before this one, entered Israel with his Kenyan passport and was confident that his participation in the race would cause no problems for him in the tiny Persian Gulf nation. Bahrain and Israel have no diplomatic relations, but are staunch allies of the United States as they host the US Navy’s 5th Fleet in its ports.

When Jawher first arrived, he had no idea that he would be the first Bahraini citizen to ever compete in the race, but was later told he had made history by running the marathon. After the race Jawher, who is a Catholic, commented he was very proud to participate in the race and said he hopes to return to Tiberius and compete next year.

The Bahraini authorities, however, were less than pleased by his performance, and were quick to issue a comment saying they received the news of Jawher’s participation with “shock and regret.” "The union deeply regrets what the athlete has done," the statement said, adding that a special committee has decided to strip Jawher of his membership in the Bahraini sports union and take away his Bahraini citizenship for “violating the laws of Bahrain.”

It is still unclear whether Jawher will be able to enter Bahrain and return to his home after being stripped of his passport.

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