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Merlene Ottey receives Slovenian citizenship

Merlene Ottey receives Slovenian citizenship
10 May 2002 - Merlene Ottey who has lived in the Slovenian capital of Ljubliana since 1998 was granted Slovenian citizenship on May 7, 2002.  She established a successful Slovenian company called TMG – BMC Ltd. and has used Ljubliana as her training base since 1998.

Her immediate plans are to compete on the European athletics circuit beginning in June of this year.  She also plans to contribute to the future growth of her business venture.

“I am very happy to have found a new home in Europe,” said Ottey.  I have been living in Europe for more than 10 years and decided that Slovenia is the right place for me in the future.  This is a small place like Jamaica and I like the lifestyle here.  I am honored to be a citizen of this country but will never forget my Jamaican origin.  The complete procedure of acquiring citizenship was done with lots of good will, recommendation and help from several organizations and individuals.”

Ottey’s coach Srdjan Djordjevic told Reuters on Thursday - "Merlene could appear for the Slovenian team already at some meetings in June as we don't expect the Jamaican Athletic Federation to put a veto over her transfer."

"However things turn out, Marlene will start her season on June 2 or maybe a few days later on June 5," Djordjevic concluded.

Ottey, who has won 14 World Championship and seven Olympic medals, has been training and living in Ljubljana since 1998, when she began working with Slovenian coach Djordjevic.