Thursday, April 1, 2010



Swimming champion Achieng Ajulu-Bushell.

March 31 2010

Achieng Ajulu-Bushell is on course to swimming in the 2010 London Olympics – no, not as a Kenyan but as a Briton – once her switch to become a British citizen materialises on August 1.

This has come as a shocker to many fans as she’s arguably deemed as Kenya’s top female swimmer. Confirming the reports, Kenya Swimming Federation treasurer David Ngugi said it was quite unfortunate for Kenya to lose such a swimmer just as the country was preparing to host the annual Africa Swimming Championships in September.

“If this [renouncing her Kenyan citizenship] goes through, then it’s a big blow to the entire [local] swimming fraternity as she’s one of our best swimmers,” said Ngugi. “It’s just too disappointing to lose her, especially now.”

Ajulu-Bushell is expected to race in the 100m on Friday for a place in the European Championships for Britain in Budapest, Hungary, in August, as well as the Commonwealth Games for England in Delhi, India, in October.

She can swim for Britain

The 16-year-old represented Kenya at the 2009 World Championships in Rome. She has not taken part in international competition for the past year and, under the rules of Fina, the world governing body, she can swim for Britain from August.

And it’s for this reason that on Tuesday night she took her first strokes on the way to selection for the country of her choice when she claimed her first British title, winning the 50 metres breaststroke in 31.18 seconds at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, to become the second fastest swimmer in the world this year.

“We received an email from Fina that Ajulu-Bushell was switching her citizenship but asked her, through Fina, that she leaves next year after the two major events,” added Ngugi. “We are yet to get the feedback; so if this is the case, we are just lost for words.”

Achieng’ Ajulu-Bushell is the daughter of an English academic. Born in Warrington, she spent 10 years in Africa before returning to boarding school in Devon for the past two years. Her mother, Hellen Bushell, said her daughter’s decision was in her best interest and she’ll always remain a Kenyan despite the move.

Had to make a gamble

“I must say that this wasn’t any easy for her. She had to make a gamble of an automatic qualification for Commonwealth and Olympic Games,” said Bushell. “So, for her to decide to swim for Britain was quite big.”

She said the family wasn’t aware of the citizenship issue at the time. “She is very aware of her ability to be a role model as an African and a black athlete,” said Bushell.

Plymouth College, which has ties to the Plymouth Leander swimming club, offered Ajulu-Bushell a swimming scholarship. On Tuesday, she won her final well clear of second-placed Stephanie Slater (31.93) and third-placed Lowri Tynan (31.96).

Ajulu-Bushell is the African record holder in the 50m breaststroke, eclipsing the mark set by former double Olympic champion Penny Heyns. “She does not stop being Kenyan,” Bushell said. “She will always be tremendously grateful for what Kenya has given her and she’s gambled all of that for something she really believes in.”

Ajulu-Bushell was in the Kenyan system very early, competing in the African Youth Championships in Senegal at the age of 12.


Submitted by wuod_aketch
Posted April 01, 2010 10:59 AM

Good luck miss. Ajulu has more to gain personally in terms of exposure to high level competition swimming for Britain than for Kenya. Her choice is a look at the sun rise in front of one's door.

Submitted by kariukija
Posted April 01, 2010 09:50 AM

Good luck Miss Bushell. We had just started getting some respect for the sport, and then you ditch Kenya. Haile is right, with that NOCK rule, you're Olympic career may start in Brazil.

Submitted by kenyamoja99
Posted April 01, 2010 03:14 AM

We should just let her go. She knows what is best for herself.Kenya has no facilities to speak of, no coaches etc. As long as we condone corruption in the name of tribalism more and more talented kenyan academics and sportsmen will continue defecting. This just shows that the Kenyan blood has it, like Obama, like this girl, those ice hockey brothers in sweden etc. When we put our act together and shun tribalism we will develope and many will come back and bring glory to the country.

Submitted by sphinx
Posted April 01, 2010 01:03 AM

Crossing the atlantic refers to crossing the atlantic ocean which generally means going from europe to the Americas or vice versa. In this case crossing the mediterranean may have been a more appropriate term to use.

Submitted by ikiplagat
Posted April 01, 2010 12:19 AM

Fools day buddy!

Submitted by haile
Posted March 31, 2010 08:21 PM

but she may miss the Olympics if Kenya does not waive the 3 year rule.NOCK stopped Saif Shaheen from the Olympics and in Beijing,they stopped Froome from competing after he also changed his citizenship.By London Olympics,her 3 Year window will not have elapsed,so Nock should continue with the trend