KENYAN-BORN MARATHONER LOSES IRISH TITLE
GARY O’HANLON has been belatedly awarded the Irish national marathon title after it was judged Freddy Sittuk, a Kenyan-born member of Raheny Shamrock AC, was ineligible for the title.
Sittuk finished fourth overall at the recent Dublin Marathon – beating 11th-placed O’Hanlon in the event
– and was initially declared Irish champion. But Sittuk subsequently failed to meet the full criteria for eligibility under the residency rule.
Sittuk, who has been running for his Dublin club for the past five years, has been in Ireland since April, but returned to Kenya for family reasons in September, which meant he wasn’t eligible to compete having broken the six months’ unbroken residency requirement.
“Freddy has come to Ireland for the last four or five years and has competed for his club throughout races,” said O’Hanlon. “A lot of people would say he has an entitlement to run for national championships. He’s not like your average Kenyan that comes over for the Dublin Marathon and you never see him again.”
O’Hanlon is used to having an eventful Dublin Marathon experience. Four years ago he broke his hand on the eve of the race in a scuffle with thieves who stole his mobile phone.
He finished sixth in the marathon but said he felt he could have placed in the top three if the incident had not happened.