TASMANIAN cyclist Mark Jamieson believes he is a victim of double standards after hearing that he is likely to be refused a visa to compete at the Paralympic Games.
Two years after he was given a suspended sentence for a series of sexual offences, Jamieson's six-month project to join the select group to have competed in both Olympic and Paralympic games appears destined to be thwarted by British authorities.
It has left the 28-year-old former track world champion aggrieved when other athletes with criminal records, such as swimmer Nick D'Arcy, are being allowed to compete in London. ``I'm disappointed when you look at someone like Nick D'Arcy,'' Jamieson told The Examiner. ``He has a conviction and so do I. It's beyond me why there is a line drawn in the sand between``He told me that it's getting late and he does not think it's going to come through. I'm still waiting on confirmation but I'm fearing the worst this close in.
``I have yet to receive anything definite but I expect they will send confirmation in writing. The (Australian) Paralympic Committee reckon if they were going to give me a visa, they would have done so by now.
``It's a bit close to the kick-off date, but that's life.''
At South Australia's District Court in July 2010, Jamieson was given a suspended sentence of two years and six months and placed on a three-year good behaviour bond, having pleaded guilty to four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl and one count of indecent assault in Adelaide between November 2008 and January 2009.
Soon after returning from the Beijing Olympics, where he had come fourth in the team pursuit, Jamieson become involved in a sexual relationship with one girl and later tried to kiss another.
After two years out of elite cycling while dealing with the court case, Jamieson, originally of Nook, was asked by Paralympic authorities to serve as a pilot rider.
``They said it was not very often that ex-national team members become eligible.
``I trialled with Bryce and after six days riding together we were 1.9 seconds off the world record of the individual pursuit. From there we decided we were a good match in ability and personality, so I came on board full-time and moved up to the Gold Coast to train.''
Having been refused entry to the US to compete in the UCI paracycling track world championships in Los Angeles in February, Jamieson was able to join the Queenslander to race a series of world cups in European countries where he did not require a visa.
He said a contingency plan was already lined up for Lindores, who lost his eyesight in a car accident in 2004.
``We've done a lot of training but do have a spare pilot for Bryce, so he still gets to compete, which is the main thing.
``We knew this could be a possibility and so had contacted his previous pilot, Sean Finning, who is an ex-Commonwealth Games points race champion, so even if I don't get a visa Bryce still has a good pilot.
``We'll continue to train together until the day he leaves in hope that the final decision comes. Hopefully I do get it, but I cannot see it happening.''
The Australian Paralympic Committee was not available for comment yesterday.
them. The difference is because one is a sexual offence and one is not.
``So you can punch someone in the head and still go but they deem I'm more of a threat to the UK public than he is.''
Speaking from the Gold Coast, where he has been training as the sighted pilot for blind world champion cyclist Bryce Lindores, Jamieson said he had been led to believe that his application to enter the UK was likely to be rejected.
``I got a phone call from my coach this morning and I don't think I'm going to get a visa,'' he said.