Tokyo 2020: Ugandan weightlifter found by police after fleeing hotel

Julius Ssekitoleko left behind a note saying he didn’t want to return to his country

 Japan’s pledge to hold a safe and secure games is coming under threat as Covid-19 cases jump in Tokyo and visiting athletes test positive for the virus. Photograph: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

Japan’s pledge to hold a safe and secure games is coming under threat as Covid-19 cases jump in Tokyo and visiting athletes test positive for the virus. Photograph: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

 

A Ugandan athlete who fled during pre-Olympics training in western Japan last week has been found and is being interviewed by police, officials said on Tuesday.

Mie prefectural police in central Japan said the 20-year-old weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko was in the city of Yokkaichi, 105 miles east of his host town in western Japan. Police are asking him what happened since he fled his hotel in Izumisano in the Osaka prefecture last Friday, leaving a note saying he did not want to return to his country.

Ssekitoleko left behind his luggage and a note saying he wanted to stay in Japan and work, Izumisano officials said. He did not meet Olympic standards in the latest international rankings released after he arrived in Japan and was due to return home this week.

On their arrival on June 19th at Narita International Airport, a member of the team tested positive and was quarantined, while the remaining eight members were allowed to travel more than 300 miles on a chartered bus to Izumisano.

Days later, a second member of the team tested positive, forcing seven town officials and drivers who had close contact with the team to self-isolate. Health officials said both infected Ugandans had the Delta variant, which is believed to be more contagious.

The team, which ended their isolation and trained from July 7th, travelled to Tokyo’s Olympic village on Tuesday without Ssekitoleko. - Guardian

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