Ugandan weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko was unable to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics this week. Then, on Friday, he disappeared.
A note was discovered, CNN reported, the 20-year-old insisted deliberately disappeared and does not want to return to his homeland because life there is difficult.
According to reports, Ssekitoleko asked that his belongings be sent home to his wife. His whereabouts are still unknown, but CNN and local reports confirm that Ssekitoleko bought a train ticket to Nagoya after he was last seen near his hotel on Friday morning. Nagoya is a little less than two hours from Tokyo with a train line.
Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reports Ssekitoleko wrote “A note on‘ I want to work in Japan ’” before leaving. He also missed a scheduled COVID test before being taken hostage.
Beatrice Ayikoru, the dean of the Ugandan delegation, told Kyodo that they were working closely with Japanese officials. “We have stressed during our regular group briefings in both Uganda and Japan, in particular, that we must respect Japanese immigration rules and not leave the camp without permission,” he said.
In the New York Times reported that two members of the Ugandan Olympic delegation passed a positive test for coronavirus last month. While the Olympic Village just announced his first coronavirus case, 44 are related to the Olympiad come with the virus as athletes, the press, and staff began to arrive in Tokyo to prepare.
Currently in Tokyo at one emergency amid an increase in cases and widespread protests against the games. The Olympiad starts on July 23.
Ssekitoleko finished tenth at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. In those games, hundreds of athletes have tried to seek asylum in Australia when the event ended, but they were later rejected. Two rugby players from Uganda disappeared after participating in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland and were later granted asylum.