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World Athletics Championship organizers scrambling to fix visa issues


World Athletics Championship: World Athletics Championship organizers scrambling to fix visa issues- American former world champion sprinter Michael Johnson tweeted: “This would…

World Athletics Championship: World Athletics Championship organizers scrambling to fix visa issues- American former world champion sprinter Michael Johnson tweeted: “This would never happen in a truly professional sport.” Follow World Athletics Championship LIVE updates with InsideSport.IN

World Athletics (WA) said on Thursday that 255 of 374 outstanding visa cases had been resolved after being escalated to a joint group comprising USOPC, Oregon22 and World Athletics.

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Another 20 have been refused and around 100 are still to be resolved, with many of them expected to fail.
“We won’t be 100 percent satisfied unless we had 100 percent of the athletes here. That is not something that we will probably be able to achieve but that is what we strive for,” USATF COO Renee Washington told a news conference following a WA Council meeting.

World Athletics Championship: World Athletics Championship organizers scrambling to fix visa issues
World Athletics Championship: World Athletics Championship organizers scrambling to fix visa issues

World Athletics Championship: World Athletics Championship organizers scrambling to fix visa issues

“Of the 5,500 participants that needed visas, less than one percent have yet to be resolved.”
One of the complications for this event is that WA left the window for qualification open until very close to the start in order to give athletes more chance to find competitions due to the impact of COVID on events.

It means that many have had to start the visa application process relatively late. WA president Seb Coe said: “In percentage terms it’s a small number, but that’s of no comfort if you are in that category.

“We will work right up to the last minute but this is a very complicated multi-faceted landscape. There isn’t one thing that is the dominant problem. Sometimes it’s a staffing issue, some people are struggling to get face to face interviews. There are political complications as well about nations being able to travel into the United States.”

Visa issues aside, Coe described the first World Athletics Championships to be held in the United States as very exciting.

“The US has consistently been the powerhouse of track and field,” he said. “We want lots of people in the stadium but this is the largest sports market in the world and there are some really powerful assets in the United States in terms of promoting the sport.

World Athletics Championship: World Athletics Championship organizers scrambling to fix visa issues

“At high school level it is the most participated sport and there are 50 million recreational runners in this country. The challenge is to form that really clear connection between what they are doing and believing that they’re a part of the track and field landscape.

“We have a really collaborative process with USATF and we now have a glide path into the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games. So it is exciting to be here, but we’re also here on a mission too.”

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