APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Ethiopian athletics who were supposed to attend the ongoing African cross-country championship in South Africa have been denied visas to enter the country, APA has learned Tuesday.
The South African Embassy refused to issue visas to 15 Ethiopian athletes and four sport officials from the Ethiopian Athletics Federation, prompting them to drop out of the championship.
Ethiopian athletes are well known in cross-country championship worldwide and have a long history in the championship.
“The team had been scheduled to travel to South Africa on Friday for a serious competition with rival Kenyan athletes. When we forwarded our request for visa to the South Africa Embassy, they told us the list of athletes had to be sent to them from the body organizing the competition in South Africa,” the Ethiopian Athletic Federation said in a statement.
“They also told us it will take 5-6 days to process the visas and therefore did not grant our visa requests. The EAF is very upset about the situation” the statement said.
In Ethiopia’s absence, the championships were dominated by Kenyan athletes with all individual and team titles going to athletes from East African countries.
Concerned officials at the South African embassy in Ethiopia were not available on Tuesday for comments.