The long wait for former British high jumper, Mike Edwards to represent Nigeria in an international
tournament may soon be over in two months as the International Associations of athletics Federation (IAAF) has cleared him after IAAF Council approved the new Transfer of Allegiance rules.
Just like Edwards was switching allegiance to Nigeria, former Nigeria star, Patrick Chinedu Ike Origa
has also been granted the approval to switch loyalty to Spain.
27-year-old Edwards was prevented from featuring for Nigeria at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
after the approval for changing allegiance was placed on hold.
In a statement released by IAAF and made available to NationSport yesterday, Edwards, Origa joined six
other athletes cleared to represent new countries in two months.
The new regulations establishes the role of the IAAF Nationality Review Panel (NRP) and the
requirements under which athletes may represent an IAAF Member Federation in international competition.
The panel has reviewed the first set of full applications and has approved five athletes to transfer
allegiance and determined the eligibility of three athletes who requested approval to compete for their
The NRP received 14 complete applications so far. Some of these are still under review and, in
accordance with the new regulations, only the final decisions of the NRP will be announced. The panel
will continue to consider applications submitted by Member Federations that are complete, including all
the required information and documents.
With the exception of former Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo, who has to wait until August 1, 2019 to
represent his new national team Portugal, all the other approved athletes can now compete for their new
Those who have transferred allegiance include Edwards (from Great Britain to Nigeria), Origa (from
Nigeria to Spain), Rai Benjamin (from Antigua & Barbuda to USA), and Leon Reid (from Great Britain to
Those who have been declared eligible for new countries are: Haron Kiptoo Lagat (USA), Miranda
Tcheutchoua (Ireland) and Weldu Negash Gebretsadik (Norway).
The new rules require a minimum three-year waiting period before an athlete may transfer to represent
another Member Federation, and the provision of evidence that those countries are offering full
citizenship and associated rights. No athlete can transfer before the age of 20 or transfer more than
“We reviewed the rules governing Transfer of Allegiance for the specific purpose of protecting our
athletes from any abuses that occurred under the previous system,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said.
“I’m pleased to see the new system is now working as we intended, allowing athletes with a genuine
connection to a new country to represent that country after appropriate checks and balances,” said IAAF