Denied citizenship, US-born Kiwi shuttler to miss CWG

Wellington: US-born New Zealand shuttler Bjorn Seguin won`t be able to participate in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi as his application for citizenship has been rejected, despite living here for six years.

The 20-year-old Bjorn is a third year management student at Waikato University and has been living in New Zealand for the last six years on a student visa along with his French parents, who are here on a long-term business visa.

Bjorn must be a New Zealand citizen to participate in international events like Commonwealth Games. But for someone who is not a resident of New Zealand, he or she can only gain citizenship through "exceptional circumstances", granted at the discretion of the minister concerned.

Residing in the country for the past six years, Bjorn said he had considered himself to a local and wanted to compete in the Commonwealth Games for New Zealand.

"If there is one country I want to represent on the world stage, this is it," Bjorn, whose application was dismissed six months after it was lodged, was quoted as saying.

Bjorn`s hopes went up in smoke when he didn`t find any response from the Internal Affairs in time to play in the Oceania Championships, which is a compulsory tournament for those seeking selection in the Delhi Games.

"All the major tournaments - the world junior champs, the youth Olympics, the world champs - I miss out on all those," Bjorn said.

Badminton New Zealand chief executive Mike Kernaghan said all documents relating to Bjorn`s application was provided by the Organisation.

"I had a chat with (national coach) TJ Weistra and he said Bjorn was clearly the No 2 singles player in the country and not far from No 1. In a team event we would need our two best singles players," he said.


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