Apr. 16th, 2011

the_future_modernes: (here comes the sun)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
The Work of Sport in the Age of International Acquisition

One day in the winter of 2002, Dorothee Paulmann received a telephone call at her home office in Trier, Germany. Paulmann had recently abandoned a career as a triathlete to become a sports agent, specializing in East African runners; the previous year one of her clients, a thirty-three-yearold Kenyan runner named Edith Masai, had won the bronze medal at the World Cross Country Championship. The caller was Leonard Mucheru, a 24-year-old long-distance runner from Kenya, seeking her services. She agreed, and Mucheru began to travel between his home in the Kenyan highlands and Trier, Germany’s oldest city. “He was impressed by the nice training facilities,” Paulmann recalls, “especially the forest and the stadium.” Mucheru improved steadily, and soon he was being recruited by friends of Paulmann, Moroccan trainers on the international circuit who were putting together a track team for Bahrain. There was one condition: Mucheru would have to renounce his Kenyan citizenship and become Bahraini. As Paulmann tells it, Mucheru agreed without hesitation and flew to Bahrain with the Moroccans. He filled out the necessary paperwork, changed his name to Mushir Salem Jawher, and settled into his new arrangement. Henceforth he would receive a salary of $1,000 a month, payable until death — his checks signed, oddly, by the Bahrain Defense Force — with substantial bonuses for winning races. Mucheru returned to Trier to train with Paulmann for the 2004 Asian Indoor Athletics Championship in Tehran, where he won the 3000-meter race.

Bahrain’s recruitment efforts imitated those of Qatar, which had been importing athletes for years — mostly that special breed of Kenyans from the Rift Valley highlands. Qatar had cultivated a network of scouts and agents to bring promising Kenyans to the emirate for negotiations, and contacts among Kenyan sports officials able to waive a rule requiring a three-year “cooling off” period before an ex-Kenyan athlete could represent an adopted country in competitions. The delicacy of these dealings was such that, in exchange for Kenyan assistance, Qatar agreed to construct a professional stadium with a running track in the Rift Valley, where most athletes practice on improvised dirt trails. But as time passed and the stadium remained merely notional, Kenya accused Qatar of chicanery. Qatar blamed Kenyan corruption and bureaucratic infighting for the delay. In 2003, relations nose-dived when Kenyan Olympic Committee president and former track star Kipchoge Keino barred a newly Qatari runner, 20-year-old Saif Saaeed Shaheen, from competing in the Athens games the next year.

Until that August, Shaheen had been Stephen Cherono. He was not well-known in Kenya, where there is such a surfeit of world-class runners that few qualify for the national team. Hardly anyone took notice when Cherono switched his citizenship and name in exchange for a lifetime monthly salary of $1,000 and the standard complement of elite trainers and cutting-edge facilities. But then he started winning races. In a surprise victory at the World Championships in Athletics, held in Paris that spring, Shaheen broke the world record for the 3,000-meter steeplechase. After crossing the finish line he fell to his knees and began to cross himself, but an official rushed to stop him; he then took a Qatari flag, wrapped it around his shoulders, and ran a victory lap; when he stepped up to the podium he forgot his new name and had to check the scoreboard. His brother, a runner on the Kenyan team, finished fifth in the same race, and refused to congratulate him.

This jarring scene was replayed on television in Kenya and elsewhere, and Shaheen, who had received a multimillion-dollar bonus for his victory, was condemned in his homeland’s newspapers.MORE

I am not surprised. Where there is a a disparity of resources, the moneybags in the more developed countries are going to be able to buy the talent of the less rich countries. Consider the bench of foreign born Olympic athletes in America and Britain and Canada for example. Especially in track and field. I have seen many Caribbean track athletes poached by these countries in particular because they had better universities (at which many of the athletes were used and dumped) and access to better training facilities and of course foreign and thus better coaches. of course, there's also the whole "I got immigrate because free trade agreements and the IMF and in association with local corruption done fucked over my country's economy" factor as well. And these athletes are lauded as America's or Britain's or Canada's when they bring home the medals, until one of them gets caught with drugs in the system. Then its "Jamaican-born so and so" and "Barbadian born whoever else." Nevermind that its the moneybags system in the developed countries that brings the access to these expensive designer drugs to the athletes. Lets quietly seep that under the rug and emphasize their foreign and criminal ways, distinguish the from the good old British and Americans and Canadians who would NEVAR do anything like this...

Even if the athletes decide to compete for their country of birth, many of them train overseas.To use Jamaica as an example, over TWO HUNDRED Jamaican athletes train in America currently. Which is why one of the triumphs of the Beijing Olympics was to see the astonishing amount of Jamaican athletes who had trained at home under Jamaican coaches, right there in the capital Kingston, in some cases leaving American programmes to do so...beating the living hell out of the world, left and right. The example was set. Now Jamaicans at least, do not HAVE to go abroad and swear allegiance to another set of people in order to develop their talents to the fullest. Read that list of people attached to that school. Consider how many of them were the medal winners in Beijing.

Because of that, I am not at all going to beat up on athletes leaving their home countries at a chance for a better life and career with the moneybag countries. Everyone has a right to search out what will make them have better. When it comes down to the nub, some people cannot afford patriotism, no matter how pissed off it makes their fellow countrypersons. What I am going to say to their home countries is this. You are going to have to fight like hell to keep them with you. Because the moneybag countries don't give a fuck except for their performances. They want prestige and they will happily sacrifice the athletes themselves in order to get it. You want to protect your people and make that prestige stay where it belongs? You are going to have do it yourself. And when you finally manage though hard work and sacrifice and difficulty to pull it off, the sports writers of the moneybag countries might just as be pissed as hell and accuse you of taking drugs and otherwise cheating. They might just decide to complain about your showboating and your utter NERVE at having the ability to beat them and your celebration of your win could juusssttt be deemed as arrogant and unsportsmanlike. At which point your news media and fellow countrypeople can rally round and politely or not joyously insult the moneybags. Because for once, their money couldn't buy this thing.
the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
via an anon. user:

Harper’s former adviser Carson had ties to money launderer

A former adviser to the Prime Minister, now under scrutiny by the RCMP, bought a downtown Ottawa condominium with a former prostitute who was convicted of numerous offences in the United States, including money laundering, public records show.

Bruce Carson began his relationship with Barbara Lynn Khan in 2006, around the time he began advising Stephen Harper in his capacity as Prime Minister, according to a source who knows Ms. Khan.MORE

Not surprisingly, the man has a history.

Harper's Ex-Adviser has chequered past



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