Morro Bajo’s 2014 Commonwealth Games passport bid

Morro Bajo is fighting to stay in Scotland. Picture: Kate Chandler
Morro Bajo is fighting to stay in Scotland. Picture: Kate Chandler
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A SPRINTING prodigy who turned his back on competing at the Olympics for his native country to represent Scotland is facing a race against time to make a dream debut in the Commonwealth Games.

Morro Bajo, 16, is struggling to get a British passport in time for next year’s selection trials with family in Gambia unwilling to sign the necessary paperwork.

The teenager had otherwise been back on track for a potential collision course with Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt since returning to the Capital nine months ago.

Bill Walker, one of Scotland’s top athletics coaches, has taken Morro under his wing, having helped convince the Gambian-born runner’s family to allow him to return to Scotland where he is living in Portobello with stepmother Becky Grangeret.

Morro had been running with Edinburgh Athletic Club until December 2011 when he was asked to leave Drummond Community High School for repeated misbehaviour and sent back to his homeland.

Mr Walker said the runner was eligible to represent Scotland after living in the country for six years, but still needed a UK passport to compete.

He said: “I’ve got a problem in that the father won’t authorise Morro to get a British passport. We’re looking at ways around this. The stepmother’s thinking of trying to adopt him, because she can’t apply for the passport on his behalf and he’s not allowed until he’s 18 to apply himself.”

Morro has put his troubled school life behind him and is going from strength to strength on the track, dominating the 60m and 200m events at the Scottish Schools track and field championships last Thursday.

His time over the shorter distance leaves him ranked third in the over-16s division in Britain.

In a twist of fate, the runner is now attending Liberton High – the same school where Scottish 100m Olympics champion Allan Wells was educated.

Mr Walker predicted the young runner could become a future Commonwealth Games medallist, claiming Morro had more natural talent than former pupil Wells.

The coach said: “He’s matured quite a bit and he’s improved an awful lot.

“I think he could make the semi-final or final [in Glasgow]. He’s not a medal hope, but I think he needs that experience for the future. Longer term, anything’s possible. He’s only just turned 16 – he’s quite young yet. Allan Wells wasn’t running the times Morro’s running now when he was 16.”