Other countries, in a bid to outdo Kenya in the athletics field, sought to tap into the raw talent in East Africa, where they have poached time and again young athletes.
These athletes have gone on to become world-beaters, setting records in different races, winning medals in the process for their adopted countries. Here is a list of the top five such athletes;
1. Bernard Lagat (USA)
The middle-distance runner was born in Kapsabet, Nandi County, and represented the country in different races before switching citizenship and becoming a USA citizen.
He continued with his form when he went to America, and at one point held the 1500m indoors, as well as the 1500m, 3000m and 5000m outdoors, and is the Kenyan record holder at 1500 m outdoors.
Lagat is the second fastest 1500m runner of all time, behind Hicham El Guerrouj. He is also the second-fastest 1500m runner of all time, behind Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj.
In March 2005, Lagat announced that he had become a naturalised citizen of the United States
2. Lornah Kiplagat (Netherlands)
Lornah was born in Kabiemit in Rift Valley and moved to the Netherlands in 1999. Four years later, she became a citizen of the Dutch and has since participated in different races for the country.
She has four world records but has continued to support athletics in her hometown of Iten, where she founded the famous High Altitude Training Centre (HATC).
3. Wilson Kipketer (Denmark)
The Kenyan-born Danish former middle-distance runner is one of the earliest athletes known to have switched nationalities.Until 2012 he held the indoor world record at the 800 metres distance. While dominating the 800 m distance for a decade, remaining undefeated for a three-year period and running 8 of the 17 currently all-time fastest times.
4. Saif Saaeed Shaheen (Qatar)
Stephen Cherono changed his name to Saif Saaeed Shaheen when he became a Qatar citizen and is one of the finest steeplechase athletes to have graced the track.
He is originally from Elgeyo Marakwet, where he was born 34 years ago. He currently holds the world record for 3000-metre steeplechase and is a two time World Champion in the event.
5. Ruth Jebet (Bahrain)
Another Kenyan athlete representing Bahrain is Ruth Jebet. She is a long distance runner.
Born on 17 November 1996, Jebet is the current world record holder and reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 3000m steeplechase, both achieved before turning 20.