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News

18/04/2018

Former student and Commonwealth Games medallist stuck in limbo as he awaits decision on allegiance switch

After winning Northern Ireland’s first athletics medal at the Commonwealth Games in 28 years, former SGS College student, Leon Reid, is being forced to wait on a decision by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as to whether or not he will get to represent Ireland in international athletics.

As it stands Leon, who studied BTEC Sport at SGS College and was a member of the College’s athletics academy, is unable to race at the European Championships in August after his application to switch allegiance from Great Britain to Ireland stalled.

All transfers were suspended by the governing body last year in order to review the process after it was recommended there be a minimum three-year waiting period before an athlete may transfer to represent another member.

Leon’s coach, James Hillier, spoke about the issue on twitter, saying:

“Last July Leon qualified for the World Championships but was unable to compete as he is a stateless athlete. Leon wrote an open letter to the IAAF in a desperate plea to be allowed to run for the Republic of Ireland or alternatively as a stateless athlete. Both requests were refused so Leon was unable to compete.

“Leon is not a funded athlete and his success is due to hard work (on and off the track), sacrifice and determination. It is only right that he should be able to compete as an athlete in international competitions.

“Support for Leon over the recent Commonwealth Games has been overwhelming and without a doubt contributed to his performance. Leon’s plea is not being heard and he needs your support in helping him be heard.”

Leon has also received support from BBC presenters Gabby Logan and Four-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson, who called on the IAAF to make a decision on Leon's request saying:

“I would hope they would take a look at this and do something about it and get him the opportunity to make a legitimate allegiance transfer so that he has a country to run for.”

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