Khalid Khannouchi who was born in Morocco was sworn in to become a US citizen in Houston Tuesday just in time to compete at the US Olympic men's marathon trials Sunday in Pittsburgh if he chooses.
The twenty-eight year old finished third in the London Marathon on April 16, despite aggravating a sore right hamstring and spraining an ankle in the race.
It is still uncertain whether or not the Marathon world-record holder would compete for the USA at the Olympics if he made the team.
IOC rules state that an athlete must wait three years to compete for his new country. That period can be reduced or eliminated only if three parties agree: the previous national Olympic committee, track's international ruling body and the IOC.
In a statement issued in Indianapolis, USA Track and Field chief Craig Masback officially welcomed Khannouchi aboard saying that the USA Track and Field congratulates Khalid Khannouchi on becoming a US citizen. AFP quotes, "as a nation of immigrants, our strength is in the diversity and experiences of our citizens, both native born and naturalized."
Khannouchi stunned the athletics world when recording a time of 2hr 5min 42sec in Chicago last year in only his fourth marathon. The diminutive 28-year-old is the only man to have run below 2hr 6min for the event.
In London, Khannouchi made it clear just how important the Olympics are to him saying that it is his biggest ambition. "It would be something to cherish and a gold medal can never be taken away from you" - (Several Sources).
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