Sprinter Miguel Francis is now free to represent Great Britain (GB) with “immediate effect”.
The athlete’s eligibility was confirmed by the British Athletics on Wednesday morning with a post on its official website confirming that the Montserrat-born 100 and 200 meters specialist has been granted a “transfer of allegiance”.
Efforts to reach Francis who is based in Jamaica proved futile while President of the Antigua & Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) Everton Cornelius, said he was unaware of the development.
“British Athletics can confirm it has received confirmation from the IAAF that Miguel Francis is eligible to compete for the British Athletics team with immediate effect,” the release said.
“The 22-year-old sprinter who was born in Montserrat is eligible for transfer of allegiance to GB with his birthplace a British overseas territory. Francis started the process to transfer allegiance from Antigua & Barbuda in August 2016, prior to the Olympic Games in Rio, and is now eligible to compete subject to meeting the required selection criteria for a Championships team,” the post states.
Francis was quoted in the Daily Telegraph stating that “bad treatment” and “things going on” prompted his decision to switch his allegiance.
“I’m young in this sport and can’t really make up my mind what I want. But I’ve made up my mind now and this is the best decision for me in my career. There were a lot of things [with deciding to leave Antigua] – bad treatment and things going on. There was a lot of dysfunction within the athletics federation,” he said.
“I know for sure things can be better with Great Britain. That’s who I was supposed to be running for in the first place because I was born in Montserrat and they don’t have an Olympic Committee. I moved from Montserrat when I was six years old and didn’t start track and field until I was about 12 years old so I didn’t know anything about Olympic committees or that type of thing. I didn’t expect I would make it this far,” he added.
The news comes just one month after the athlete said he was still willing to run under the Antigua & Barbuda banner.
“Everybody is with me with my decision including my parents and everyone. I spoke with Chet Greene and told him about my decision and he was happy about my decision, and said I should come to Antigua so that we can sit down and have a meeting. I am in a very important part of my preparations right now so I can’t really leave yet but hopefully soon,” Francis said in early March when asked about his decision to stay with Antigua.
According to the release, Francis, who moved to Antigua & Barbuda following a volcanic eruption on Montserrat in 1995, will continue to live and train in Jamaica with the Racers Track Club.
The athlete came under heavy criticism following an article appearing in The Daily Observer on September 22, breaking the news of his intended transfer to Great Britain.