Courtney Duncan is on top of the world right now.
The Kiwi motocross rider won her third successive women’s world championship over the weekend in Italy.
Now begins her next race: trying to get home.
Like several top-tier New Zealand athletes, getting back into the country after competing overseas is becoming increasingly difficult.
For many athletes, the reality is there are no special reserved MIQ spots for them. It means they must join thousands of stranded Kiwis in a virtual lottery system for a limited number of hotel rooms.
Duncan does not currently have a golden ticket MIQ voucher that secures her return home.
She will be vying for a voucher over the next few weeks.
However, for Motorcycle New Zealand’s women’s commission, that isn’t enough.
“The fact that Courtney might be stuck in Europe is extremely problematic and it would be great to see one of New Zealand’s best motorsport competitors back home,” commissioner Sandra Perry said.
“Courtney has been trying to secure a place in MIQ since before leaving for Europe and has kept up the applications while competing. However, the faulty system hasn’t been forthcoming with a spot.”
If Duncan cannot bag a MIQ voucher soon, she faces the possibility of overstaying her current work visa.
Overstaying her visa means Duncan won’t be allowed to return to Europe next year and defend her title.
Not all Kiwi sports stars are affected in the same way as Duncan. Teams like the All Blacks and Black Caps have secured MIQ spots once they return from their respective competitions.
“It seems strange that high profile sportspeople and teams don’t have the same issue,” Perry said.
“MNZ’s Women’s Commission would like to see all athletes representing New Zealand at world championship events treated equally, especially women competitors.
“It’s time the MIQ system was fixed.”