EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Some 10 athletes, including 2015 world champion hurdler Sergey Shubenkov, encountered issues with obtaining visas to compete in the Prefontaine Classic track meet.
The meet that started Friday night is the only U.S. stop for the international Diamond League series.
Organizer Tom Jordan said it was the first time in nearly a decade that athletes had problems securing visas for the meet. Visas were denied or delayed for athletes from various countries, including Russia and Ethiopia, Jordan said.
Asked for comment on the matter via email, the U.S. Department of State replied: “Section 222 (f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) prohibits us from disclosing details from individual visa cases.”
Shubenkov’s visa was finally approved Thursday, too late for him to travel to Eugene, according to the athlete’s Instagram post. No reason was given for the delay.
The Russian was supposed to be part of a start-studded for the 110-meter hurdles at the Prefontaine, which includes Rio Olympics gold medalist Omar McLeod of Jamaica and U.S. star Devon Allen.
Russian long jumper Darya Klishina was in Eugene and competed Friday night in the women’s long jump.
Jordan said meet officials would consult with U.S. officials to avoid similar issues in the future.
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