Missing Ugandan Athlete In Tokyo Found By Police Ahead Of 2020 Olympics

by Duke Magazine

The Ugandan weightlifter who went missing last Friday from a training camp in Japan has been found “safe and sound”, announced by the Japanese police on Tuesday.

Julius Ssekitoleko disappearance follows his failure to be available for a COVID-19 test.

“Today (Tuesday), the man was found in the prefecture of Mie (center) without any injury and without any criminal involvement,” an official of the Osaka police told AFP.

The 20-year-old athlete disappeared from the hotel in Izumisano, near Osaka (west) where he was staying with his group, announced the authorities of this municipality which hosts their base camp.

The Ugandan weightlifter “had on him his identity card and identified himself. We do not know to whom we should refer the man, to the team or to the embassy,” added the police officer.

Julius Ssekitoleko won the bronze medal at the African Weightlifting Championships and was on a waiting list for the Olympics. He recently the hope of participating due to Olympic quotas as he was expected to return to his country soon.

He was part of the first group of nine Ugandan athletes, coaches, and managers who arrived in Japan in mid-June, and two of whose non-athletic members tested positive for the coronavirus shortly afterward. The entire group had to undergo quarantine afterwards.

Police revealed that the man had traveled to Nagoya and then to Gifu Prefecture, before heading south to Mie.

“He was found in a house belonging to people connected to him,” the police official said, adding that the sportsman had offered “no resistance. We are still questioning him about his motives”.

Drastic restrictions have been planned in Japan for all participants in the Tokyo Olympics (July 23-August 8), while the health crisis worsens in the country.

Athletes are expected to be tested daily and their movements are extremely restricted: limited between their accommodations, their training centers, and their competition places.

Almost all the events of the Games will take place besides behind closed doors, decided the organizers last week.

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