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Nigerian high jumper blocked from competing. Stuck in limbo

Mike Edwards arrived in the athletes’ village with the Nigerian team for the Commonwealth Games.

It is as close as he is going to get to the track.

Edwards has dual citizenship and has competed for Britain before. Despite the British giving him clearance to compete for Nigeria, a late IAAF ruling has blocked him from competing for Nigeria in the Commonwealth Games.

So the high jumper is wanted by one country, unwanted by another, but stopped by authorities from jumping.

Edwards was born in England to a Nigerian mum and has lived in England most of his life. He represented Britain in competition nine years ago and in February won the British indoor title.

Last month he asked British Athletics to be released to compete for Nigeria and they granted the application.

The BBC reported that the Nigerian authorities only contacted the IAAF last week by emailing a copy of Edwards’ Nigerian passport.

“It was nine years ago – it is a worse sentence than a drug cheat gets,” he told BBC Sport.

“I am walking around the village with my Nigerian kit and unsure if I can even walk in the stadium and represent (Nigeria).

“It is nearly a decade since I last competed in an international championship, I feel I am being robbed of that opportunity right in front of my eyes.

“I am willing to protest every day in the village. I will do it until I receive a call from [IAAF president] Seb Coe. If he can’t do that he is a coward.

“As a fellow athlete, he can’t hide behind his desk – that is heartless.”

Edwards said he wanted to represent Nigeria on the Gold Coast because they had not had a male high jumper at a Commonwealth Games in 50 years.

“Representing England? They are taking three guys, they don’t need me,” he said.

“I can’t look back at this opportunity and say I passed it up to be another number.

“Just to compete would be a gold medal for me.”

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