Meet the Turin-born champion athlete not allowed to represent Italy

Aug 18, 2021 429

BY: Andrea carlo

Already at just 16, pole vaulter Great Nnachi is one of Italy’s most promising athletes. Two years ago, the teenager broke the Italian record for her age category, successfully clearing 3.70 metres. But, despite being born in Turin, she's unable to get Italian citizenship and compete for Italy on the world stage. Because her parents are Nigerian, she will have to wait until her 18th birthday before she can apply for Italian nationality, a consequence of Italy's descent-based law. 

It comes as sport and citizenship are a hot topic in Italy, sparked by the country's best-ever haul of gold medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Giovanni Malagò, the head of Italy's National Olympic Committee, complained of the bureaucratic headaches confronting Italian-born athletes -- such as Nnachi -- who want to compete for their country but lack citizenship.

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