Veteran Collins could still run in Moscow after online petition

Sunday, 28 July 2013
By Gary Anderson

July 28 - KCOLINNSSt Kitts and Nevis sprinter Kim Collins has revealed that tentative talks are taking place between him and the St Kitts and Nevis Amateur Athletic Association (SKNAAA) in an effort to allow the 37-year-old compete at next month's International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Moscow.

At last year's Olympic Games, which would have been his fifth in a row, the 2003 100 metres world champion was thrown out of the St Kitts and Nevis squad for leaving the Olympic Village and visiting his wife in a London hotel.

At the time he vowed to never run for his country again, having been the flag-bearer at the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, the third time he had been awarded that honour.

However, in the last few days, an online petition to get him back in the national squad has been started by fans of the popular veteran runner, who finished fourth in the 100m at the London Anniversary Games in the Olympic Stadium on Friday (July 26)

And it appears that Collins has not given up hope of representing his country at another major international championships, having set a national record of 9.97sec at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne earlier this month.

Kim Collins left finished fourth in the 100m at the London Anniversary Games behind winner Usain Bolt of JamaicaKim Collins left finished fourth in the 100m at the London Anniversary Games behind winner Usain Bolt of Jamaica

"Well, with that you know, I don't know who started it but I think some fans started a petition on Facebook and Twitter and I think it's really great to see when the fans step up and moments like these you realise how important they are and how much we have to love and respect them," said Collins.

"It is something that the fans would love to see and I don't think they should be denied that and I don't think I should be denied that chance either."

Collins is a national hero in his native country and has a day named in his honour, and has been the subject of calls to run for political office in the Caribbean nation.

The three-time Central American and Caribbean Championship (CAC) gold medallist's time in Lausanne meets the standard set for the World Championships, but his failure to participate in the SKNAAA National Championships last month has appeared to seriously impede his chances of competing at a tenth World Championships.

Kim Collins celebrates with teammate Jason Rogers of St Kitts and Nevis after securing bronze in the mens 4x100 metres relay final at Daegu 2011Kim Collins celebrates with teammate Jason Rogers of St Kitts and Nevis after securing bronze in the mens 4x100 metres relay final at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu 

"To be eligible for selection, athletes must participate in the set SKNAAA National Championships or must have received an exemption from the SKNAAA executive body upon receipt of a written request for a waiver one month prior to the National Championships," said Evris Huggins, public relations officer of the SKNAAA.

"Policies always prevail in sports.

"Sport is a discipline, and at the National Club Championships there was no sign of Kim Collins.

"At this stage, Kim Collins has not met any prerequisite to represent St. Kitts and Nevis with the exception of him running a qualifying performance.

"And a qualifying performance alone does not equate to one's eligibility to be selected."

Collins remains hopeful, though.

"There are persons who are speaking on my behalf and it is trying to be resolved as best as possible so we will be looking forward to some news shortly that everything is resolved and everything is ok and we can all move forward," he said.

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