Josh Amberger will not be competing in Sunday’s inaugural Couples Championship in Florida after he was refused entry to the United States.
Amberger, who had been due to team up with partner Ashleigh Gentle to bid for a bumper $100k first prize in Florida, spoke at length in an Instagram post on Saturday to detail the Visa hell which scuppered his Stateside trip.
The 32-year-old Aussie said he endured a nightmare which included being held for 24 hours in immigration detention as well as having no opportunity to communicate with the outside world.
He said: “And like that, my trip to the US is over. I was detained upon entry, spent 24 hours in immigration detention under armed guard and later returned back to Australia.
“There was a dispute with my Visa and it has since been cancelled. I have been in transit for 3 days now, and this is the first time I can use my phone since being put on a flight out of the country to explain my situation; I had no access to communications or my possessions, and couldn’t ask anyone for any sort of help.”
The trip to Florida to compete had been something Amberger was really looking forward to following two years of a severely hampered schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the last few days had also been traumatic for Ashleigh as she struggled to find out what was happening to him.
“After spending two years waiting to travel and race again internationally, I am absolutely gutted that I won’t be competing this weekend at the Couples Championship, as well as pursuing our planned trip.
“All of this is not even to speak of the experience @gentle_ash had in trying to understand what was happening to me and what she could do about it.”
The long road home
At the time of writing Josh was actually still not back in Australia – instead he was facing a further two flights to make it back home.
“I’m currently in Auckland in a holding area, and I have two more flights to make it back to Brisbane. At this point, I’m now just happy to have some control over the situation, and it will be nice to be home again shortly.
“Ash will continue with her trip and if you’d like to show support, just shoot her a message before her race in Miami next week, it would mean a lot to her.”