TRIATHLETE Dave Savage has been left “frustrated and disappointed” after being told he cannot compete at this month’s Commonwealth Games.
Savage, 42, was expecting to represent the islands of Kiribati, which lie between Australia and Hawaii, in the triathlon in Glasgow.
He competed at the 2002 Commonwealths in Manchester but suffered three punctures on the bike and ended up limping over the line.
Savage had been told by Kiribati officials he had been selected for their team for Glasgow but, following a follow up enquiry with the Commonwealth Games Federation, was informed the eligibility rules had changed and the Woolston resident could no longer represent the country of his birth.
“The emotions are disappointment, not just for myself but my family and friends who were so supportive of me and booked ticket, travel and accommodation,” said Savage, whose parents were teachers on Kiribati when he was born.
“It was a chance for me to put to rest the ghosts of 2002, but sadly that won’t happen now.
“To go from being told last summer that I was going to now has been a rollercoaster.
“I am just so frustrated that people were unable to get their facts right to start with.
“And what also worries me is that I only really found out because a friend of mine thought that the regulations had changed and so chased it all up on my behalf for me then to be told I wasn’t eligible.”
Savage lived on Kiribati for the first three years of his life and his half brother, Kautu, still lives there.
He exclaimed: “How can I be eligible in 2002 and carry the flag at the closing ceremony and not be eligible now?
“I haven’t represented another country. I realise that criteria can change, of course it can, but surely it cannot apply to athletes that have already represented their nation at a major games like this. It makes no sense.”
When contacted by the Daily Echo, the Common-wealth Games Federation said it was a selection issue for the Kiribati Commonwealth Games Association.
The Kiribati Association did not respond to the request for a comment.
Savage, who runs popular local triathlon club Savage Sports, has now admitted defeat in his bid to get the decision overturned and is focussing his attention elsewhere.
“I have considered taking legal action but I’m tired of fighting and there comes a point when you think you are not getting anywhere and have no more fight left,” he said.