DUNFERMLINE athlete Aidan Thompson is determined to use the “horrible” premature end of his American dream as motivation to race to the top at home.

The 23-year-old, a former Queen Anne High School pupil and member of Pitreavie AAC, had been enjoying what he described as “a great experience” to take part in a track and field scholarship in the United States when coronavirus hit earlier this year.

Aidan, who graduated from the University of Stirling with a BA in History and Sports Studies prior to taking up the chance to experience the student and athlete lifestyle Stateside, was competing in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) for Belmont University, in Nashville, Tennessee.

The distance runner, pictured competing for his current club, Central AC, at the recent Monument Mile Classic event in Stirling, quickly found himself facing the prospect of having nowhere to go after the university’s campus was shut down.

Although he stayed briefly with friends in Georgia as he, and other students across America, waited to find out what would happen long-term, Aidan took the decision to return home to West Fife and being his adventure across the Atlantic to an early end.

“The student athletes were to come in, from all sports, on the Friday and the university was going to start back on the Monday,” he explained.

“We came in on the Friday morning and we were told do your run as normal, you won’t have access to the physio room today – which we always just went into to roll out and stretch, it’s almost like a chill spot for us after a training session – and we had a meeting at 3pm that day.

“Between us finishing our training at 9-10am, and that meeting at 3pm, we saw on Twitter that the NCAA had suspended all sports for the semester. I was a bit like, ‘Wow, what do we do now?’”

Classes were cancelled subsequently and, after deciding to head home, Aidan had hoped to renew his visa – which expired this year – and return for a further year but it didn’t work out.

“I knew with the visa thing if I go home I might not be able to get back in but I thought this is going to be long-term,” he continued.

“It’s just unfortunate that, once it got to July time and the embassy’s still not open, you realise it’s probably not going to happen.

“The coach and the athletic director tried to chime in and influence the situation but I think the university were just not budging.

“It’s frustrating but I’m just trying to use it now as motivation to go after it in Scotland and really try and reach a high level here.

“Although it didn’t end the way I wanted it to by any means, it’s still a great experience and you’ve got to just appreciate what was rather than what could have been,” he finished.