Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) were left with egg on face on Thursday after they failed to secure UK visas for three athletes to compete in the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Cardiff, Wales today.
The trio of Ben Siwa, national record holder Geoffrey Kusuro and Filex Chemonges were meant to represent the East African nation in the 21km race.
“We tried all we could,” UAF administrator Timothy Masaba told Saturday Monitor on Thursday evening. “Today is the last working day (before long Easter break) and we haven’t received feedback from the embassy.”
This is the first time Uganda has failed to present a team at the event since the 2010 edition in Nanning, China. UAF began the visa process at the British Embassy at the start of the month but nothing came through. “We applied way early,” said Masaba while adding, “The runners did all the biometric tests, filled in the necessary documents to make the trip but in vain.”
The pain felt by the athletes was unbearable. “Definitely, we all feel bitter,” said Siwa.
“We had prepared well in Iten (Kenya). UAF did their best but the people from the embassy have let us down.”
Source : All Africa