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Ugandan Weightlifter Has Gone Missing At Olympics And Left Note Behind

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Ugandan Weightlifter Has Gone Missing At Olympics And Left Note Behind

A Ugandan weightlifter has gone missing at the Olympics, with reports claiming he left a note.

Julius Ssekitoleko had failed to qualify for the games in Tokyo and was due to fly home tomorrow (20 July).

However, the 20-year-old vanished ahead of his flight and left behind a note informing organisers that he had decided to remain in Japan because his life back in Africa was too hard.

He also asked his team to send all of his belongings back to his wife.

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Ssekitoleko was reportedly last seen at a train station close to his team's hotel in Izumisano at 6.30am last Friday (16 July).

Credit: Julius Ssekitoleko/Instagram
Credit: Julius Ssekitoleko/Instagram

Officials also told CNN that he then bought a Shinkansen bullet train ticket to Nagoya, which is around 200 kilometres away.

City official Osamu Mizoguchi said alarm bells were first raised at about midday on Friday, when they realised that Ssekitoleko hadn't submitted his Covid-19 test sample.

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Police have been searching for him for several days now but to no avail.

Ugandan Weightlifting Federation president Salim Musoke said the last time he spoke to the athlete was on Tuesday 13 July.

Credit: Julius Ssekitoleko/Instagram
Credit: Julius Ssekitoleko/Instagram

Speaking to The New York Times, he said: "When I got the message, I wondered what happened if they were well guarded? What happened to the security they have been talking about?

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"Athletes disappearing is not good for the country. I am praying that they should get this boy.

"The government of Japan should get this boy, and then we expel him from the sport."

A statement from the Ugandan Olympic Committee after Ssekitoleko's disappearance read: "It was anticipated that he would qualify for the games.

"However he did not make the quota as informed by the International Weightlifting Federation on 5 July 2021.

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Credit: Julius Ssekitoleko/Instagram
Credit: Julius Ssekitoleko/Instagram

"He, together with his coach, were due to return to Uganda on 20 July 2021.

"We, during our regular team briefings both in Uganda and in Japan, emphasised inter alia the need to respect the immigration regulations of Japan and not opt to leave the camp without authorisation.

"Our team in Izumisano is cooperating with the Osaka authorities to try and locate Mr Sekitoleko. We shall keep you posted on any further developments in this regard."

Featured Image Credit: Julius Ssekitoleko

Topics: Police, Weightlifting, olympics, Japan

Dominic Smithers
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