Lanarkshire Highland Games star missed world championships due to U.S. travel ban

A competitor for the Lanarkshire Highland Games has revealed his grief over missing out on the world championships due to the travel ban to the United States.

Paul Dearie had qualified for the Masters World Championships in Austin, Texas this weekend.

However, the US travel ban for British travelers does not end until tomorrow, November 8, which means Paul missed the world title competition by a few days.

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The 40-year-old, originally from Shotts but now living in Carluke, spoke to Lanarkshire Live this week.

He said: “It’s a roller coaster of emotions.

“There was a little hope, then no hope, then it looked like the ban would be lifted in early November, but then it was confirmed that it would be in place until November 8.

Paul Cherie

“The Highland Games is a bit like a decathlon with six to eight events over a few days.

“I had managed to shift a few pounds to be in the under 200 pound category, which put me in a great position.

“If I had been in the heavyweight class I could have qualified for the World Championships, but by reducing the weight I had a chance to place in the top five or even better.

“If I’m being honest I don’t think I would have had a better chance of winning.”

After weeks of speculation, the US government has finally confirmed that the UK arrivals travel ban will be lifted on November 8.

Initially, White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients only said “early November” when he announced the easing of restrictions on September 20.

Fully vaccinated people from the UK and the EU will be allowed entry.

People who have not received the two doses of the COVID vaccine will still be banned.

Paul’s mother, Jan, has been the Heavy Event organizer for the Shotts Highland Games Association for several years.

She said: “I’m very sorry for him because I know he worked hard so it’s disappointing.

“Next year, the world championships will be held in Canada. Unfortunately, they are not here this year because he could have gone there to compete.

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Jennifer R. Strohm