Sierra Leone sprinter Jimmy Thoronka has had his visa appeal to stay in Britain rejected ©GoFundMe

Sierra Leone sprinter Jimmy Thoronka, who competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, will return to his native country after his appeal to remain in Britain was rejected by the Home Office.

The 21-year-old, regarded as the top 100 metres athlete in Sierra Leone, went missing after the conclusion of the event in the Scottish city last year.

He refused to return to the West African nation due to fears over the Ebola virus, which has killed over 4,000 people in Sierra Leone since the outbreak of the disease in May 2014.

Thoronka, who was forced to sleep rough in London, was arrested in March of this year and was threatened with deportation.

But he harboured hopes of remaining in Britain after applying to stay in the country and after he was offered a place on a foundation degree course as well as a sporting scholarship at the University of East London.

His story has received worldwide attention and even prompted Cambridge University student Richard Dent to set up a fundraising page in aid of the young sprinter, which has so far raised £31,465 (£$49,000/€42,000).

A petition for the Sierra Leone athlete to stay in Britain also received 25,000 signatures.

“All applications for a visa or leave to remain are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules,” a spokesman for the Home Office said.

“Mr Thoronka's claim did not meet the required thresholds within the immigration rules.”

The Home Office also reportedly told the 21-year-old in a letter that his claim was “clearly unfounded”.

Jimmy Thoronka competed for Sierra Leone during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year
Jimmy Thoronka competed for Sierra Leone during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year ©Getty Images

Thoronka is now concerned about what will happen to him when he returns to his West African homeland, which remains on alert over fears of another outbreak of the deadly illness.

He says that “there is no-one to look after me” and remains fearful of the consequences the Home Office decision will have on his athletics career, adding “the training facilities are very bad”.

“The president of the Athletics Association there said that many of the athletes are just training by themselves, on the tracks at schools which are not very good," he said.

“I don't think I will make it if I have to go back.”

The Commonwealth Games Federation said in a statement sent to insidethegames that they "empathise with individual circumstances" but they "have to respect the fact that accreditation for international sporting events, including visas for overseas athletes and officials, is a sovereign matter administered and controlled by the host country (in this case, UK Visas and Immigration) and subject to their conditions of entry and length of stay."