Ugandan weightlifter who fled Olympics camp returns home

Ugandan weightlifter who fled Olympics camp returns home
The 20-year-old Ugandan weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko had recently found out he would not be able to compete at the Tokyo Games, which open on Friday 23, July 2021, because of a quota system

Entebbe, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | A Ugandan weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko, who disappeared from an Olympic training camp for four days in Tokyo, Japan was finally traced, and has on Friday 23, July 2021 returned safely to Uganda.

He vanished from the Olympic village facilities in Izumisano City last week, leaving a note saying he was seeking to stay in Japan.

The disappearance of Ugandan weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko came at a time of high public concern over COVID-19 risks as thousands of foreigners arrive for the Games.

He had failed to meet the set Olympic standards in the latest International rankings to participate, and consequently fled the Team Uganda camp during pre-Olympics training in western Japan.

In a joint operation between Japanese Authorities and the Ugandan Embassy in Japan, Ssekitoleko was tracked down in Mie Prefecture on 20th July 2021.

Weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko (2nd left), who had fled from the Uganda Olympic camp in Izumisano ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been brought back to Uganda

Ssekitoleko was seen off at the Airport by officials of the Ugandan Embassy and Japanese Immigration Authorities who ensured his safe and orderly passage out of Japan.

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Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, he was received by officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education and Sports.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that; “the Government of Uganda is committed to continous rehabilitation of the Athlete to assist him settle to further develop his career but also help him understand, how such acts of misconduct can not only affect him as an athlete but also other athletes in the Sports sector and the Nation at large.”