Olympian Roy-Allan Burch. *File photo.
Olympian Roy-Allan Burch. *File photo.

 

Olympian Roy-Allan Burch has dramatically withdrawn from the Island Games at the last minute because of 'pending immigration paperwork'.

Burch, who lives in the US, was one of the host island’s primary gold medal hopes and was down to swim in 10 events at the National Aquatics Centre next week.

But the athlete, who competed at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics, says he will now be unable to attend.

He told the Bermuda Sun: "I've been having issues with my immigration paperwork. Some things were lost in the mail and my advanced travel parole has been pending.

"Been calling USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) and visited the Homeland security field office but nothing has come to fruition. I'm expected to wait 90 days from June 12 even after pleading for the paperwork to be extradited."

He added: "I'm more than likely will not be able to compete at the World Championships this summer.

"The Olympics is always the main target but I'm looking to put in the some very strong performances at Commonwealth, Pan Am and CAC Games.

"It's frustrating to miss out (on the Island Games) but I have to make the sacrifice. There has never been an opportunity for me to swim in Bermuda like this. It's a great event to host and I was confident that I would add to gold medal tally."

Burch said he will still be cheering on Bermuda's swimming team from his US base but, on a personal level, added that he needs more financial support if he is to keep pushing his career forward. 

He said: "Going on from here will be about gaining the right support. Support and funding at the right level has been continually difficult to gain. I have made strides in different areas to help my journey.

"My coaching and team are amazing — the best coaching the world. Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association has been good to me and they do what they can to help. It would be great to have a company behind me. I've only ever worked to maximise my potential — I've been working very hard this year. Regardless of where I compete this summer I will hit personal best times."

The BASA declined to comment.