A BARROW-born athlete has been left 'devastated' that a visa delay will prevent him from travelling to the United States to compete in the World Athletics Championships.

Marathon runner Chris Thompson, 41, was the only Brit to finish the men's marathon at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year and was due to travel to Oregon in the United States to compete in the World Championships.

UK Athletics has released a statement confirming that Thompson will now not be competing because of the issue: "UK Athletics can confirm that Chris Thompson (Alan Storey, Aldershot Farnham and District) will not compete in the World Athletics Championship's men's marathon this weekend after significant delays in the processing of his US visa.

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"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, July 17, Thompson is now unable to travel and compete."

Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team Leader, Paula Dunn, said: "We are obviously very sad for Chris that he has been unable to travel to Eugene for the World Athletics Championships.

"We are grateful for the interventions and assistance of World Athletics and the UK Government to attempt to resolve the matter, but time has run out.

"We are gutted that Chris will miss the Worlds as he has worked incredibly hard to be in a position to race here."

Chris Thompson said: "I'm absolutely devastated I won't be in Eugene to compete.

"This was my major aim for the year and had prepared well for it.

"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.

"However, I'm very grateful to my close network of family, friends, colleagues, and officials who supported and rallied for me, to try to amend the situation."