The Gambia National Olympics Committee and Ministry of youth and sports have issued a press statement on Gina Bass and five other athletes stranded in Paris, France, saying the visa issues are ‘beyond their jurisdiction.’
“The GCF made special arrangements for the athletes’ visas to be obtained in France, where they are based; hence, the current situation is beyond the jurisdiction of the GNOC and is in the hands of the proper authorities for an early resolution, GNOC and sports ministry said in a joint statement released late Sunday.
“The Commonwealth Games Federation (GCF) Organizing Committee took over the processing of the applications after the athletes in question had, through the GNOC, completed the visa application process in time to obtain the necessary travel clearance and the Commonwealth Games Federation (GCF) Organizing Committee had taken over the processing of the applications,”
Gina and co expected to compete in the 100 and 200 meters races at the Games, provided they are granted visas on time.
Bass and Camara left the United States a week after participating in Oregon’s just-ended World Athletics Championships. They were expecting to be with their compatriots already in Birmingham.
They were hoping to get their visas ahead of the Games opening and were kept waiting for nearly two weeks without any word from Banjul.
“The GNOC and MOYS would like to thank you for your usual patience and reassuring all the fans that we are doing everything possible to ensure that our remaining athletes compete in the Commonwealth Games.”
According to the statement, “We have learned that the public and fans are concerned about the delay in entry clearance from UK government authorities for some of our athletes.”
Gina Bass, Ebrima Camara, Adama Jammeh, Sengan Jobe Alieu Joof, both athletes, and Abdourahman Ceesay (judo) are all in Paris waiting for their visas to attend the Commonwealth Games currently underway in Birmingham, UK.
“The GNOC and the Ministry of Youth and Sports would like to inform fans that they are in constant contact with the relevant UK authorities (i.e., the UK government and the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation) via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to expedite the entry clearance of those athletes currently in France.”