Big visa problems to reach the United States, some athletes withdraw

Edit, 07/14 at 2 p.m.: Ferdinand Omanyala finally obtained his visa for the United States on Thursday, in extremis. He planned to fly this Thursday evening and hopes to reach Eugene in Oregon in time to be at the start of his competition which begins Friday evening, with the playoffs.

The 100m of the Worlds has lost one of its contenders: the Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala, holder of the African record, gave up on Thursday to make the trip to Eugene (Oregon), for lack of having obtained his visa for the United States. United. “I give up on my trip, even if I get a visa today, it’s too late,” he told AFP. That would mean taking night flights and my competition begins [vendredi]. It’s over. There’s nothing I can do. It was the longest day of waiting [de ma vie] and I don’t like to wait. »

The exact number of members of the Kenyan delegation who did not obtain visas was not immediately available. Part of the team flew to the United States on Tuesday. Omanyala is not the only one to have encountered problems obtaining his visa for the United States. Jamaican Gregory Prince, a 400m specialist, had to delay his departure for the United States before obtaining his visa, according to the Jamaican daily The Gleaner.

” It’s ridiculous ! »

The organizers of the 2022 Worlds, the first organized in the United States since the creation of the event in 1983, indicated that they “were working in collaboration with the American Olympic and Paralympic Committee on the question of the allocation of visas”, in a statement released Wednesday. ” Most [des problèmes] have been resolved,” they said, recalling that “international travel has become more complicated due to the pandemic.”

Many athletes have complained on social networks about this problem, including the Ivorian sprinter Marie-José Ta Lou: “As an athlete, you work hard to be qualified for the world championship “only” to have a problem of visa for not being able to travel or being able to travel and arrive on the same day of your race. “Even the legendary Michael Johnson went there with his comment on Twitter:” This is ridiculous! We know that the entry visa to the United States is perhaps one of the most difficult and the International Federation and the organizing committee have not taken the lead? »

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