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Visa issues at the centre of McLeod's withdrawal

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming and Hubert Lawrence
Claude Bryan
JAAA boss Dr Warren Blake

The non-issuance of a requested visa letter from the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) is at the centre of Omar McLeod's withdrawal from Jamaica's team to the IAAF World Indoor Championships, it has been revealed.

McLeod was originally named to represent Jamaica at the four-day championships which gets started in Birmingham, England, on Thursday at Arena Birmingham, but it was later revealed that the defending 60 metres hurdles champion would not make the trip, with his manager, Claude Bryan, stating that the JAAA failed to provide the necessary assistance for the securing of the necessary documentation.

"Given the JAAA's failure to communicate and assist its constituent (Mr Omar McLeod) on a matter pertinent to team selection and representation, they would have already known Mr McLeod was extremely unlikely to be in Birmingham," Bryan noted through a statement yesterday. "To say he withdrew after team selection is disingenuous at best and does not foster a sound athlete-federation relationship."

However, JAAA president Dr Warren Blake explained that the World and Olympic champion's manager had requested an invitation letter from the association for visa purposes but underlined that the JAAA could not provide same.

"On the 13th of this month, we got our first email (from Bryan) with a request for an assistance with a visa - that we issue a letter of invitation so (Omar) McLeod could get a visa," Blake told The Sunday Gleaner.

"The JAAA does not issue letters of invitation. If we should have issued a letter saying that Omar McLeod would likely be on the team, he would still need a letter of invitation, and we the JAAA, cannot invite anybody to England. A letter of invitation to the World Indoors would have to come from the LOC (Local Organising Committee of the World Indoor Championships) in London or the IAAF, who are the host of the event, and that can only happen after the selection of the team, which happened on Monday the 15th. We communicated that to Mr Bryan. So to say that it is disingenuous, is unfair."

The Jamaicans are expected to start making their way to Birmingham tomorrow.