An American Football player at Kingston University will no longer be taking part in the World University Games which will be held in Mexico in June.
Timothy Thomas, 22, a wide receiver and a second year sports science coaching student, raised £550 out of the £2,000 that he needed in order to fund his trip to represent the GB Lions at the 10-day tournament held in Monterrey.
“In a few years there will be another chance but it will be somewhere else. Some of the students might have missed their last opportunity to play for the student programme. That’s a kick in the face,” said Thomas.
The British American Football Association announced last week that there will be no British team entering into the World University Championship.
Under the International University Sports Federation’s (FISI) guidelines, teams must be selected, entered and managed by the university sport governing body in that particular nation, which in this case is the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS).
The decision that BUCS made to disallow the Great Britain Students Programme to compete has led to GB Lions Head Coach Wayne Hill to resign from his position after four years of his role.
In a statement to his players Coach Hill said: “I am sorry I could not fulfil your dreams in 2014 and now in 2016. I never thought that it would come to this, but it has and I am deeply sorry. I cannot thank you enough for your time, hard work and commitment to the programme.
“I am finding this letter extremely hard to write as the tears stream down my face,” said Coach Hill in the statement that was published on The UK’s Premier Independent American Football Website on February 4 2016.
Thomas uploaded his fundraiser, #MISSIONMEXICO, on his Facebook account earlier this year to promote his opportunity to participate in the World University Games in June.
Thomas previously told The River earlier this year, Thomas said: “If I got to Mexico, it would be the path to my future.”
After receiving the news that BUCS will no longer run the programme, Thomas felt let down. He said: “With the Mexico trip getting cancelled, it felt like we were chasing an empty dream. The same thing happened two years ago with GB, so we should have seen it coming.”
The British American Football Association is now reviewing the future of Great Britain Students after their dismissal of the World University Games and after Coach Hill’s resignation.
“I don’t blame Coach Hill’s decision, he has done so much for the whole programme and he made sure that everyone who was involved got really excited for the games in Mexico in June,” said Thomas.