The organisers of the Utrecht marathon are offering prize money of just €100 to Kenyan nationals if they win the event, but a Dutch winner will get €10,000, the Volkskrant reports on Saturday.
The aim is to discourage Kenyans from taking part in the 42 km race, nicknamed the Dutch Battle, on April 25, the organisers say.
Last year Kenyan runners won the Rotterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Enschede and Leiden marathons. The Utrecht race has been won by a Kenyan for the past four years and the organisers hope to give top Dutch athletes a chance to win this year.
Event director Louran van Keulen told the paper the prize money trick had been worked out with the help of a lawyer. Banning Kenyans outright would break discrimination laws but discouraging them from taking part is legal, Van Keulen said.
The race website does not mention the prize differences but says ‘only athletes who have been invited to take part are eligible for big money prizes’.
According to television programme EenVandaag, only people with a Dutch passport have been invited to take part in the race.