Ugandan athlete who fled Olympic camp found in central Japan | Olympic Games News
The weightlifter was found four days after his disappearance leaving a note saying he wanted to find work, police said.
A Ugandan weightlifter was found four days after his disappearance from an Olympic training camp in Japan, leaving a note saying he wanted to find work, police said.
Julius Ssekitoleko’s disappearance came at a time of great public concern over the risks of COVID-19 as thousands of foreigners arrive for the Games.
“Today, the man was found in Mie Prefecture without injuries and without involvement in any crime,” an Osaka police official told AFP news agency on Tuesday, who wished to keep the ‘anonymity.
âHe was carrying his own ID and identified himself. It’s unclear who to send the man to – the team or the embassy.
The alarm was raised on Friday after Ssekitoleko failed to show up for a coronavirus test and was not in his hotel room.
The 20-year-old had recently discovered he could not compete in the Tokyo Games, which open on Friday, due to a quota system.
A note was found in his room requesting that his belongings be sent to his family in Uganda, according to officials in Izumisano town in Osaka prefecture, where the team was training.
Police said Ssekitoleko traveled to Nagoya in central Japan and then to neighboring Gifu prefecture before moving south to Mie. He was found 170 km (105 miles) east of his host city.
âHe was found in a house belonging to people with a connection to the man. He offered no resistance. He spoke frankly. We are still asking him about his motives, âsaid the police chief.
When the Ugandan delegation arrived in Japan last month, one coach tested positive, and another member of the delegation also tested positive later, forcing seven city officials and drivers who had close contact with the team to isolate yourself.
Health officials said the two infected Ugandans had the Delta variant of the virus, which is believed to be more contagious.
Ugandan Foreign Minister Henry Oryem Okello told AFP Ugandan authorities have been informed that Ssekitoleko has been found and is being questioned.
“We are working with the Japanese government to get the facts surrounding the weightlifter’s disappearance and how he was accredited,” he said.
âAs a government, we have already apologized to the government of Japan for the weightlifter’s disappearance,â he added. “It was unacceptable conduct and treason.”
Coronavirus cases are increasing in Tokyo, which is under a state of emergency, and the risks of infection from the Games are closely monitored in Japan.
There was a surge of infections in Tokyo, which reported 1,387 cases on Tuesday, 557 more than a week ago.
Athletes and other Olympic participants are subject to strict rules, including regular testing and limits on their movements.
The Ugandan team, which ended their isolation and trained from July 7, went to the Tokyo Olympic Village on Tuesday without Ssekitoleko.