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World of Sport

19th Jul 2021

Ugandan weightlifter goes missing after traveling to Tokyo Olympics

Kieran Galpin


Weightlifter runs away from training camp

Julius Ssekitoleko, a Ugandan weightlifter who failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, went missing from their training camp in Osaka.

However, Reuters reports that Ssekitoleko left a note detailing his intention to remain in Japan indefinitely.

Julius Ssekitoleko will not return to Uganda/Via Getty

The 20-year-old failed to qualify and was scheduled to return to Uganda next Tuesday. However, he later went missing from the training camp in Osaka, and so was reported missing.

It was later revealed that he left a note detailing how hard life was in Uganda, and has now chosen to remain in Japan where he intends to work and start a new life.

Media reports indicate that the athlete was spotted at a nearby train station where he purchases a bullet train ticket to Nagoya in central Japan. Ssekitoleko reportedly asked that his belongings be sent home to his wife in Uganda.

News around the Olympics has been circulating for weeks. Most notably, the countries stance on the pandemic has been called into question. With the first reports of cases in the Olympic village, games chief Seiko Hashimoto said the following:

“Athletes who are coming to Japan are probably very worried. I understand that.

“That is the reason why we need to make full disclosure.

“We are doing everything to prevent any Covid outbreaks. If we end up with an outbreak we will make sure we have a plan in place to respond.”

The Games are surprisingly going ahead despite the rise in cases amongst the Japanese public. However, spectators will no longer be present, meaning the atmosphere at the biggest sporting event in the world will be dramatically different.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told the media: “Taking into consideration the effect of coronavirus variants and not to let the infections spread again to the rest of the nation, we need to strengthen our countermeasures.

“Given the situation, we will issue a state of emergency for Tokyo.”