Venezuela skier says France deported him before contest
21 Feb 2017 - 18:00
Caracas: French police deported a Venezuelan man heading to compete in a skiing competition in Finland because they didn't believe he was a cross-country skier, the sportsman told AFP.
Adrian Solano, 22, said he finally managed to make the journey on Monday having missed a month of training for the event after being sent home last month while trying to change planes in Paris.
"When I got to Paris on January 19, I explained that I was on my way to Sweden to train. They did not believe that I ski in Venezuela," he told AFP.
"I told them that we train on wheels. I only had 28 euros with me and the police accused me of trying to immigrate because things were going badly in my country."
He said his travel documents were in order and he had letters of invitation to travel to Sweden and then to the tournament in Finland which confirmed his expenses were covered.
But authorities deported him several days later.
"They discriminated against me because of my dress, my face or appearance," he said.
He had to ask the Venezuelan consulate in his country to buy him a return ticket.
"Now I am at a disadvantage. I missed a month of practice on the snow. But I am still trying because this is my dream.
The Nordic World Ski Championships start on Tuesday in Lahti, Finland.
"The police laughed at him," Solano's trainer Cesar Baena told AFP. "They said skiing didn't exist in Venezuela."