Athletics-British runner Thompson out of World Championships due to visa delay

FILE PHOTO: London Marathon

(Reuters) - British marathon runner Chris Thompson will miss the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon after being unable to obtain an American visa in time for the competition, UK Athletics (UKA) said on Friday.

Dozens of competitors have been struggling to get a United States visa, with the logjam threatening to prevent around 100 athletes, coaches and officials from entering the country for the event that gets underway later on Friday.

"UKA had been in close liaison with World Athletics and enlisted help of the UK Government to solve a last minute hold up, however, due to the close proximity to the marathon on Sunday 17 July, Thompson is now unable to travel and compete," the governing body said in a statement.

Thompson, a former European Championships silver medallist, said he was devastated at missing out.

"I'll never know what might have been, but I had high expectations of myself going out. It should never have got to this point and it's hard to believe it has," said the 41-year-old.

Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala, Africa's fastest man, faced a significant delay in the processing of his visa before getting a last-minute approval. He now faces a race against time to reach Eugene before the 100 metres heats on Friday.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)