British marathon runner Chris Thompson will miss the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene due to visa delays, and has admitted he is “absolutely devastated” to miss the event.
The 41-year-old has become the latest athlete to experience visa issues, after World Athletics said that 374 visa-related cases have been reported to them that have involved either athletes or officials.
Thompson was due to take part in Sunday’s marathon, but will now not compete in Eugene after UK Athletics confirmed time to resolve the issue “had run out”.
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“I’m absolutely devastated I won’t be in Eugene to compete,” Thompson said. “This was my major aim for the year and I had prepared well for it.
“I’ll never know what might have been, but I had high expectations of myself going out. It should never have got to this point and It’s hard to believe it has.
“However, I’m very grateful to my close network of family, friends, colleagues and officials who supported and rallied for me, to try to amend the situation.”
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Former British sprinter and team leader Paula Dunn said she was “gutted” for Thompson.
"We are gutted that Chris will miss the worlds as he has worked incredibly hard to be in a position to race here," she said.
The visa issues have cast a cloud over the championships, the first to take place in America.
The problems with visas and some athletes’ entry into the country seem to stem from a cluttered backlog at US embassies.
Athletes are required to schedule an appointment and interview in order to obtain a temporary visa.
Kenyan 100m sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala - who posted the third fastest time in the world this year - has been one of the athletes affected, and is only expected to arrive on Friday hours before his race.
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