Nigeria’s World Championship aspirations hit by US visa refusals

Nigeria’s World Championship aspirations hit by US visa refusals
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The long awaited Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championship will begin in Eugene, United State on Friday but some Nigerian coaches and accredited journalists may not be part of the event due to their inability to secure visa at the American embassy in Lagos and Abuja.
 
The Oregon 2022 World Championship will run from July 15 to 24.
 
It was learnt on Wednesday that some Nigerian coaches, accompanying officials from the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and Sports Ministry as well as four of the five journalists accredited journalists by World Athletics to cover the championships had not be given visa to enable them travel to the United States.
 
The visa problem appears to be global and World Athletics are scrambling to get the issues resolved.
 
Some of the affected people were said to have met the necessary requirements, including paying their visa fees of $160 since April.
 
 “Some of us made payment for visa fees far back in April, only to be given appointment date for March 2024,” one of the affected officials lamented on Wednesday.
 
  “I don’t know why the U.S. embassy in Nigeria will allow touts to control appointment dates. Before American government accepted to host this World Athletics Championships, I expected their embassy around the world to treat the athletes, coaches and accredited journalists with respect.
 
“I am sure this kind of treatment won’t be meted to athletes, officials and journalists from Britain, Germany and Australia. This may affect Nigerian athletes in Oregon.”
 
Another official hinted also on Wednesday that the AFN/Sports Ministry got a Note Verbale through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the affected persons only for the U.S. embassy to reject a majority of the names insisting that only those having Diplomatic passport and Blue passport would be attended to. “They said no to those with Green passport,” the official said
 
Efforts to speak with officials of America embassy in Lagos on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
 
Meanwhile, Africa’s fastest man from Kenya, Ferdinand Omanyala, faces a race against time for an American visa so he can compete at the World Athletics Championships.
 
Omanyala, who won the African 100m title last month in Mauritius, is due to race in the heats tomorrow (Friday) at the global event in Eugene, Oregon.
 
“Sad that I haven’t travelled to Oregon yet and 100m is in two days. Visa delays!!” the 26-year-old Kenyan sprinter posted on Instagram.
 
“I am still hopeful. If I make it to the starting line, it will be fireworks. I thrive on setbacks.”
 
Currently the third-quickest man in the world this season behind Americans Fred Kerley and Trayvon Bromell,
 
Omanyala set the African 100m record of 9.77 seconds in September last year.

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